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Following Houthi threat, French navy ship shoots down two missiles in the Red Sea

Incident took place about 110 km off Yemeni coast, hours after Houthi military spokesman threatened to fire at any ship heading to Israel

Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen's Houthis last month, is anchored off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, Dec. 5, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/File Photo)

The French army announced that during the night, its navy ship “Languedoc” intercepted two UAVs that flew toward it in the Red Sea.

The incidents took place about 110 km off the Yemeni coast in the area of the port city of Al Hudaydah, at 21:30 and 23:30 (French time), just hours after the threat issued by the military spokesman of the Houthis, Yahya Saree, announcing that the Houthis would attack any ship heading to Israel – no matter which country it was from.

In addition, Saree clarified that they intend to allow only the passage of ships that bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, and issued a warning to companies and ships not to come to ports in Israel.

The communications minister of the Houthis in Yemen, Deifullah al-Shami, said yesterday in an interview with Al Mayadeen channel after the statement of the military spokesman: "The decision came in response to the American veto of the UN Security Council resolution. Its cancellation depends only on finding a permanent and complete path to support the Palestinian people."

He said: “We have a database of the movement of international ships and they are all safe, except for the ships sailing to Israel. No country has an interest in responding to the call of the Israeli enemy to establish an international naval force to protect the ships; we will not hesitate to attack any of its allies.”

Former Israel Navy commander, Eliezer Marom, addressed the Houthi threat this morning on the “Kalman Lieberman” program: “The State of Israel is sitting with its hands on its chest and I don’t quite understand why it is not doing anything. The nations of the world are not interested in fighting. If I threaten you like this, you say ‘Listen, I don’t want to go to the State of Israel because the Houthis will catch me; leave me alone, I don’t want to deal with this thing’, this is how the commercial world works.” 

According to Marom: “the State of Israel has a role to ensure the freedom of navigation, and if you ask me, it has the ability to do so. When I was in office, we operated in the areas of Yemen and Sudan, then the Houthis were mainly a weapons depot that the Iranians used for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip. We will pay a heavy price if we do not act and sit on the sidelines.”

Written by KAN 11 correspondents Shiraz Tikva and Omer Shachar. is the Hebrew news website of the The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation

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