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US: Iranian regime is 'deeply involved' in coordinating Houthi Red Sea terror attacks against international vessels

File photo - Houthi military helicopter flies over the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea in this photo released November 20, 2023. (Photo: Houthi Military Media/Handout via REUTERS)

The United States announced on Friday that the Iranian regime is “deeply involved” in the ongoing Houthi terror attacks against international shipping vessels in the Red Sea region.

White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson criticized Iran about the recently reported new classified U.S. intelligence.

“Iranian support throughout the Gaza crisis has enabled the Houthis to launch attacks against Israel and maritime targets, though Iran has often deferred operational decision-making authority to the Houthis,” Watson stated.

She revealed that, for more than 8 years, Tehran has been transferring advanced weapons systems to the Houthis in Yemen, which now threaten international shipping vessels in the strategically important Red Sea.

“Since 2015, Iran has transferred advanced weapons systems to the Houthis, including Unmanned Aerial Systems, Land Attack Cruise Missiles, and ballistic missiles that have been used in attacks against maritime vessels, including commercial vessels with no known links to Israel, and in attacks against Israel since October,” Watson said.

Due to the relative weakness of Iran’s conventional forces, for many years Tehran has pursued aggressive expansionist policies via its vast network of terror proxies such as the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The proxy strategy has also offered Iran a convenient veneer of plausible deniability, however, some believe the Biden administration’s latest statement could indicate that Washington’s patience is running out.

Watson argued that without Iran's considerable assistance, “the Houthis would struggle to effectively track and strike commercial vessels.”

"We have no reason to believe that Iran is trying to dissuade the Houthis from this reckless behavior,” Watson added.

The Houthi terrorist militia has dramatically increased its attacks on international commercial vessels in the Red Sea since the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre of over 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. The deteriorating security situation has resulted in a considerable decrease in international shipping in the region.

In November, Houthi terrorists hijacked the Israeli-linked international cargo ship Galaxy Leader. The Iranian-backed Yemen militia issued a warning to: “all ships belonging to or associated with the Israeli enemy - that they will become a legitimate target for our forces.” 

Earlier in December, the Houthis struck the Norwegian vessel STRINDA with a ballistic cruise missile while it was reportedly heading towards the Israeli port city of Ashdod. While no crew members were injured in the Houthi terror attack, the missile caused a fire onboard the ship.

The United States and its international allies are reportedly considering responding to the ongoing threat with a military attack on the Houthis in Yemen. Washington formed an international naval coalition, Operation Prosperity Guardian, designed to boost security for Red Sea shipping by combating the growing threat. The coalition includes as many as 20 countries, such as the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada, Bahrain, Italy and Spain.

Since the Red Sea connects the Mediterranean Ocean and the Arabian Sea, it plays a crucial role in dramatically reducing shipping times for commercial goods between India and the large European consumer market.

The Biden administration has reportedly not decided yet whether it should reverse its previous decision to declassify the Houthis as a terror organization.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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