United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken has embarked on his fifth trip to the Middle East after his country and allies carried out strikes against Houthis in Yemen and damaged infrastructure of the rebels.
The US top diplomat landed in Saudi Arabia yesterday as part of his diplomatic shuttle following the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, triggered by the October 7, 2023 attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli citizens in which 1200 were killed and over 200 abducted.
Israel in retaliation is waging a ferocious war against Hamas in Gaza and this is threatening to escalate the crisis in the Middle East as Houthis and other militants including Hezbollah in Lebanon have vowed to attack Israel.
The Houthi rebels had escalated attacks on ships in the Red Sea, claiming it is in retaliation to the US and allies who support Israel, adding that some of the ships were linked to Israel. The Houthis have attacked with drones and caused significant damage to US vessels.
Just a week ago, militants killed three US troops in a drone attack at their base in Jordan and Washington has accused Iran of being the mastermind.
But Iran said the accusations it was involved are “baseless”. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iran-backed militia, claimed responsibility for killing the US soldiers.
The US is leading a coalition of 12 countries against the Houthis and on Monday its military struck a land-attack cruise missile and four anti-ship missiles that “were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.”
United Kingdom (UK) Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said his country “will not hesitate” to repeat if necessary.
The Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis have faced a barrage of retaliatory attacks by the US and more attacks are being planned in the coming days.