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Pentagon announces special operation to safeguard navigation in Red Sea

Pentagon announces special operation to safeguard navigation in Red Sea The Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin (photo: Getty Images)

The United States has announced the commencement of a special operation called Prosperity Guardian to protect navigation in the Red Sea, states the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.

"The Red Sea is a critical waterway that has been essential to freedom of navigation and a major commercial corridor that facilitates international trade. Countries that seek to uphold the foundational principle of freedom of navigation must come together to tackle the challenge posed by this non-state actor launching ballistic missiles and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) at merchant vessels from many nations lawfully transiting international waters," Austin said.

Prosperity Guardian reportedly involves several countries, including the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain, working collaboratively to address security issues in the southern part of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Houthi attacks on trade vessels in the Red Sea

Since November of this year, Yemeni Houthi rebels have continued their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea with connections to Israel.

On December 16, a British destroyer successfully intercepted and downed a Houthi drone attempting to attack a commercial vessel in the Red Sea using a Sea Viper missile.

Earlier in the past week, a Houthi-launched land-based winged missile struck the commercial tanker Strinda. The vessel, flying the Norwegian flag, sustained significant damage and caught fire. The ship was transporting oil and biofuels from Malaysia to Venice.

In response to these attacks, the United States has stated that it is considering the possibility of striking the Houthi rebels due to their assaults on commercial ships.