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The UK-owned vessel Rubymar, which had sunk in the Red Sea after being struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by Yemeni Houthi militants, is seen in this aerial view released on March 3, 2024. U.S. Central Command/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. TEXT OVERLAY FROM SOURCE.

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Yemen’s Houthi vow to sink more UK ships in the Red Sea

Yemen’s Houthi militia vowed to target more UK ships in the Red Sea, despite growing worldwide outrage over the sinking of a vessel carrying thousands of tonnes of fertilizer.

Hussein Al-Ezzi, the group’s deputy foreign minister, said that Houthi would continue sinking ships in the Red Sea, even if it meant causing an ecological disaster off Yemen’s coasts.

He held UK responsible for participating in US-led strikes against Houthi areas, as well as supporting Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Ezzi said: “Yemen will continue to sink more British ships, and any repercussions or other damage will be added to Britain’s bill, as it is a rogue state that attacks Yemen and partners with America in sponsoring the ongoing crime against civilians in Gaza.”

The Houthi threats came a day after the Yemeni government and the US Central Command announced that the Belize-flagged Rubymar, which was hit by the militia’s missiles last month, sank with a cargo of more than 21,000 tonnes of fertilizer. It raised concerns about possible environmental disaster for Red Sea coral reefs, along with shipping using the route.

The Houthis said that the ship was owned by the UK and was targeted in retribution for the country’s strikes on Yemen, as well as its backing for Israel’s blockade and bombing of Gaza.

The Houthis have seized the commercial ship Galaxy Leader and launched hundreds of drones and missile strikes against commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden, since November.

The group has banned any Israel-bound ships from passing across the Red Sea in order to force Israel to allow humanitarian assistance into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Yemen’s Minister of Transport Abdul Salam Humaid said that he had asked the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea & Gulf of Aden and other marine conservation bodies for assistance in containing any pollution from the ship.

The US Central Command said that the ship’s cargo of ammonium phosphate sulfate fertilizer constituted a hazard to nautical life, and that the sinking ship was also a risk to other vessels passing through the Red Sea.

The US military said in a statement: “As the ship sinks, it also presents a subsurface impact risk to other ships transiting the busy shipping lanes of the waterway. The Houthis pose a heightened threat to global maritime activities.”

Despite worldwide condemnation and warnings about the consequences of its actions, the Houthis have renewed threats to obstruct a rescue mission for the ship prior to humanitarian aid arriving in Gaza.

Yemen’s Houthi leader Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi blamed the sinking of the Rubymar on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his government, saying on Saturday that his group would only let the world rescue the ship if Israel lifted its siege of Gaza.

Al-Houthi said on X: “We say to Sunak, you and your government are responsible for the (sinking of the) ship MV Rubymar, as well as for supporting genocide and the blockade of Gaza.”

The militia has said it would release the crew of the Galaxy Leader if requested to do so by Hamas.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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