The Prime Minister has sent a warning shot to the Iranian backed Houthis militants based in Yemen that the UK will “not hesitate” to protect our “security” as and when required.
The UK will take further military action against the Houthis militants in Yemen to protect shipping in the Red Sea.
Rishi Sunak is set to address MPs in the House of Commons today over the government’s decision to take part in airstrikes with the US on Friday evening across Yemen.
Sunak has said that military action that was conducted by the RAF and the Royal Navy including a submarine war the “last resort” in an failed attempt to “restore stability” in the Middle East.
On Saturday the US conducted another bombing raid in Yemen and on Sunday the US military confirmed that one of their fighter jets shot down an anti-ship cruise missile that the Houthis militants had fired at an American destroyer in the Red Sea.
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During a visit to Essex, Sunak was asked if the UK-US response amounted to a ramping-up of conflict across the Middle East, he said the allies’ aim was to “de-escalate tensions in the region.”
“We faced an escalating series of attacks from the Houthis on commercial shipping, including an attack on a Royal Navy warship. That was unacceptable,” Sunak told broadcasters.
“It is right that we took proportionate, targeted action against military targets to send a strong message that that behaviour is unacceptable.
“It was a last resort. It came after the end of exhaustive diplomatic activity including a UN Security Council.
“Now, I think it is incumbent on the Houthis to recognise the international condemnation for what they are doing and desist.
“But we, of course, will not hesitate to protect our security where required.”
The Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK will now “wait and see” before making the decision to take part in further airstrikes on the Houthis in Yemen.
Shapps was asked on Sky News if the UK could take part in more strikes on Yemen, he said, “We will now watch and monitor the situation very carefully.
“As we’ve said – not just to the Houthis but to their Iranian masters, in a sense, because they are really proxies for Tehran – this cannot go on.
“Freedom of navigation is just a given and always has been for many years.
“We cannot have that situation where they are trying to harass it, and we will keep a very close eye.
“If we have to take further action, that is something that we will consider.”
He was asked what will happen if the Houthis attacks continue, he said the UK will “keep it under review.”
He added, “They should be aware that if it doesn’t stop then of course we will then have to take the decisions that need to be taken.”
On Sunday the Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said that the airstrikes conducted by the RAF and the Royal Navy along with the US has sent an “unambiguous message” to the Iranian backed Houthis militants.
Lord Cameron wrote in the Sunday Telegraph and said that the US and UK action “will have gone some way to degrade Houthi capabilities built up with Iranian backing.”
The Foreign Secretary said that the UK are “determined to put a stop” to the Red Sea attacks which are being carried out by the Houthis militants, and British forces will continue with strikes if they do not stop.
Lord Cameron added, “We will work with allies. We will always defend the freedom of navigation.
“And, crucially, we will be prepared to back words with actions.”
In response over claims the Houthis attacks are due to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, he said this is “nonsense.”
The Foreign Secretary said, “They’ve [Houthis] attacked ships from countries all over the world, heading to destinations right across the globe.”