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Live updates: Israel-Hamas war, senior Hamas leader killed in Lebanon

Representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel expressed concern over attacks on shipping in the Red Sea during a United Nations Security Council meeting Wednesday.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s representative to the UN, highlighted the escalating threats to maritime trade posed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have claimed many of the reported attacks.

Erdan framed the Houthis as a harbinger of regional and global destabilization.

The Israeli ambassador emphasized that the repeated attacks on maritime vessels are not isolated incidents, but a “grim glimpse” into a potentially “chaotic future,” especially in the Middle East, if decisive action is not taken.

Erdan placed the blame on Iran, which is accused of funding the Houthis.

“Iran is a global danger. The time has come to expose this to the world and take action. This can be the council’s shining moment.” Erdan said.

Erdan stressed the urgency of responding to these threats to prevent a future where terror organizations and regimes operate with “impunity” as he called for “immediate and robust action” from the international community to tackle the issue head-on. 

Ambassador Chris Lu, the US representative, asserted that Houthi forces pose significant threats to the “freedom of navigation, regional peace, security, and global commerce.”

Lu noted that a multinational naval operation had been launched to protect ships in the southern part of the Red Sea and deter “lawless non-state actors.”

“In light of both the broad support for council action, and continued Houthi attacks, the United States believes that we are at an inflection point,” Lu said.

The UK’s representative, Ambassador James Kariuki, emphasized the severe economic and humanitarian impact of the attacks, driven by the use of UAVs, missiles, and small boats, and demanded the release of the ENV Galaxy leader and its international crew. 

“Today we joined 11 countries in a statement warning against further attacks. We will continue to work with allies and partners to pursue all diplomatic routes to end this threat, if necessary, as the UK Defense Secretary has said we will not hesitate to take action to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea,” Kariuki said. 

Some background: Houthi forces in Yemen have been targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea, claiming the attacks as revenge against Israel.

The Houthis are believed to have been armed and trained by Iran, and there are fears that their attacks could escalate Israel’s war against Hamas into a wider regional conflict.


January 2024