Iran has sent a warship to the Red Sea and the British government has warned that they will “not hesitate” to engage in “direct action” against the Iranian backed Houthis militants.
The British Foreign Secretary Grant Shapps has admitted that any form of “aggression” from UK warships could spark a “region-wide conflict.”
The US and UK are in the Red Sea protecting commercial vessels who have been attacked by the Houthis militants in recent weeks.
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Over the weekend the US said that their military helicopters had sunk three boats being used by the Iranian backed Houthis militants in the southern Red Sea after an attack on a Maersk container ship.
The US military said that their helicopters opened fire and several armed Houthis crew members were killed, the Denmark owned vessel had reported no injuries onboard.
The Maersk Hangzhou was hit by a missile on Saturday evening which was around 55 nuatical miles from Yemen.
In a statement US Central Command (Centcom) said that the USS Gravely and USS Laboon received a distress call and once they attended they found the vessel to still be seaworthy.
The US military said that they had shot down two anti-ship missiles that was fired towards the Maersk vessel, then several hours later the container ship issued another distress call.
They were then targeted by four Houthi attack boats and the militants fired small arms weapons at the vessel.
Helicopters from the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and the USS Gravely said that verbal warnings were issued, then the Houthis opened fire on the helicopters.
The British Foreign Secretary told the Telegraph the UK will “not hesitate” in taking “direct action” against Houthi militant attacks, Shapps admitted that “aggression” could trigger a “region-wide conflict” in the Middle East.
Shapps said, “The Houthis should be under no misunderstanding: we are committed to holding malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks.”
“Continued Red Sea aggression risks miscalculation and escalation which could trigger a region-wide conflict.”
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham strongly urged the Biden administration to blow Iran “off the map.”
He said the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin should not show “weakness” over the constant attacks in the Red Sea by the Houthis militants.
In a statement, the Yemen based Houthi militants, said they are acting “in solidarity and support for the Palestinian people.”
The militant group said, “The Yemeni armed forces renew their advice to all countries not to be drawn into the American plans aimed at igniting the conflict in the Red Sea, and that they will not hesitate to confront any aggression against our country and our people.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted by Iranian state media quoted him as saying, “The Israeli regime cannot be allowed to commit massacres of women and children and genocide in Gaza and set the region on fire, while the stopping of a Zionist ship in the Red Sea is seen as endangering the security of this economic waterway.”