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UK considering airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen

UK considering airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen Photo: Defense Secretary of the UK Grant Shapps (Getty Images)

The United Kingdom is considering the possibility of carrying out airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. London is ready to take "direct action" in response to their attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, according to the UK's Defense Secretary Grant Shapps.

He emphasized that the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond had shot down a Houthi drone in self-defense in the Red Sea in early December.

"As HMS Diamond illustrated earlier in the month, we are willing to take direct action, and we won’t hesitate to take further action to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. The Houthis should be under no misunderstanding: We are committed to holding malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks," the minister said.

This comes after the U.S. Navy destroyed three Houthi boats on Sunday, killing at least 10 rebels attempting to board a container ship in the Red Sea. U.S. Navy helicopters from neighboring warships fired on small boats after they attacked the Maersk Hangzhou container ship.

Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea

Since November of this year, Houthi attacks on trade ships with ties to Israel in the Red Sea have continued. On December 16, a British destroyer shot down a Houthi drone attempting to attack a trade ship in the Red Sea.

Also, a Houthi-launched guided missile hit the commercial tanker Strinda under the flag of Norway. The vessel was seriously damaged, and a fire broke out on board.

On December 19, the Pentagon announced the start of a special operation named Prosperity Guardian to protect ships from Houthi attacks. Over 20 countries have agreed to join the coalition.

On December 31, the Houthis attacked a civilian cargo ship in the Red Sea.

Meanwhile, the UK's Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, informed his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, that Tehran shares responsibility for preventing Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.