(Bloomberg) -- Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed they prevented a ship from sailing to Israel, as the Iranian-backed group escalates its attacks on vessels in the Red Sea in response to the war in the Gaza Strip.  

The navy “forced a ship sailing towards occupied Palestine to change its direction and sail back,” Hussein al-Ezzi, the Houthi’s deputy foreign minister, said in a statement on X. His account couldn’t immediately be verified.

As the war between Israel and Hamas has continued, it’s drawn in more groups hostile to Israel. The Houthis have attempted to strike Israel with missiles and drones, and rebel fighters have attacked other ships in the Red Sea, seizing an Israeli-owned vessel in November. 

Deputy US National Security Adviser Jon Finer said last week the Biden administration has “not ruled out the possibility of taking military action” against the Iranian-backed Houthis but the focus for now is on assembling a maritime coalition to secure the Red Sea — a conduit for 12% of world trade and the bulk of Middle East energy supplies to Europe.

Read more: US in Talks With Gulf Allies on Military Action Against Houthis


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