Israel-Palestine conflict: UN demands Houthi halt Red Sea attacks

The Security Council demanded an "immediate" end to attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea. Meanwhile WHO cancelled a Gaza aid mission citing security concerns

The Houthi rebel group in Yemen has been attacking ships on the Red Sea, using drones and other weapons in support for the Palestinian cause in Gaza. (photo: DW)
The Houthi rebel group in Yemen has been attacking ships on the Red Sea, using drones and other weapons in support for the Palestinian cause in Gaza. (photo: DW)


UN Security Council demands immediate end to Houthi Red Sea attacks

The UN Security Council approved a resolution Wednesday, 10 January condemning and demanding an immediate end to attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels on merchant and commercial vessels in the Red Sea region.

The resolution, sponsored by the United States and Japan, said the attacks impede global commerce "and undermine navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace and security."

The vote was 11-0 with four abstentions: Russia, China, Algeria and Mozambique.

It passed a day after US and British warships in the Red Sea said they fended off the biggest attack yet from the Houthis.

The Iran-backed rebels have attacked commercial ships 26 times since the war began and have vowed to continue attacks until Israel halts the conflict in Gaza.

US: Iranian support of 'escalatory' Houthi Red Sea attacks must stop

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has threatened consequences if Houthi attacks on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea continue. In Washington, the White House has again demanded that Iran stop providing support to the rebels.

"We've repeatedly tried to make clear to Iran, as other countries have as well, that the support that they're providing to the Houthis, including for these actions, needs to stop," said Blinken, adding that, if not, the United States will "consult with its partners" about next steps.

Since war erupted between Israel and Hamas on October 7, the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have launched 26 attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea in support of their Islamist allies in Hamas.

The most significant attack came late on January 9, local time, when US and British warships shot down over 20 missiles and drones launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. 

"Despite what the Houthis may say, they are threatening and targeting commercial vessels with ties to countries all over the world, many of which have no connection to Israel whatsoever," said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. "These attacks are unlawful and escalatory." 

Red Crescent: Six workers killed in strike on Gaza ambulance

An Israeli strike that hit an ambulance killed six members of the Palestinian Red Crescent, the aid organization said on Wednesday, 10 January increasing the number killed from an earlier count of four.

The ambulance was hit on Salah al-Din Street, a major north-south axis in central Gaza. The route is regularly occupied by thousands of people fleeing Israeli bombs. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry added that several people were killed in an Israeli airstrike near a Deir al-Balah hospital earlier in the day.

The Health Ministry claims that more than 120 ambulances have been destroyed and at least 326 health workers killed since Israel began its military operation in response to Hamas' October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people and saw 240 others taken hostage. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, Germany and the United States, among other countries.

The Israeli military operation has killed over 23,200 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the enclave's Health Ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and militants in its casualty figures. 

WHO cancels aid mission to Gaza over security concerns

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said it could not move forward with an aid mission to Gaza, citing security concerns. It was the sixth such cancellation in recent weeks.

The last such mission to Gaza took place on 26 December.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general, said the UN agency canceled the mission after it failed to gain approval for a request to visit the embattled region.

"The barrier is access. We call on Israel to approve requests by WHO and other partners to deliver humanitarian aid," he said.

Tedros also said the WHO was not given security assurances.

"Intense bombardment, restrictions on movement, fuel shortage and interrupted communications make it impossible for WHO and our partners to reach those in need," Tedros said during a virtual press conference from Geneva.

"We call on Israel to approve requests by WHO and other partners to deliver humanitarian aid," he added.

The WHO said only 15 of 32 hospitals in the Gaza Strip remain at least partially operable.

UK defense secretary says Houthi Red Sea attack 'largest' to date

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on Wednesday, 10 January that British and US naval forces "repelled the largest attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date."

Shapps added that multiple attack drones had been destroyed by HMS Diamond, a Type 45 air defense destroyer.

"Deploying Sea Viper missiles and guns, Diamond destroyed multiple attack drones heading for her and commercial shipping in the area, with no injuries or damage sustained to Diamond or her crew," Shapp said on social media. 

The British defense secretary warned that should the attacks continue, "the Houthis will bear the consequences."

A Houthi spokesperson later on Wednesday said the group launched "a large number" of missiles and drones targeting an American ship, adding that it was in response to a US naval attack on Houthis last Sunday. 

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Published: 11 Jan 2024, 8:31 AM