Britain is contemplating the possibility of launching air attacks on Houthi rebels in response to the recent Red Sea assaults.

“Direct action” would be taken by the UK without hesitation, according to the defence secretary, after the US destroyed boats that targeted a container ship. Reports suggest that Britain is considering airstrikes on Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, following the US navy’s actions. Grant Shapps stated that the UK is committed to preventing further attacks and holding those responsible accountable. The UK and US are reportedly preparing a joint statement as a final warning to the Yemeni group, amid mounting tensions. The Royal Navy has already joined international efforts to deter attacks on cargo ships in the region.

Multiple newspapers have reported that the UK is considering an armed response to the Houthi attacks, which they claim are linked to Israel or heading to Israeli ports. The attacks are said to be in response to Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip after an attack by Hamas in October. David Cameron, the foreign secretary, has engaged in discussions with Iran’s foreign minister regarding the situation. Shapps strongly condemned the attempt to disrupt global trade and called for the Houthi to cease their illegal attacks.

The situation in the Red Sea is regarded as highly serious and the Houthi attacks have been deemed unacceptable and destabilizing. While planning for various scenarios is underway, no decisions have been made as diplomatic routes are still being pursued. The UK government, along with allies and partners, is working to protect freedom of navigation and calls for an end to the Iranian-backed Houthi’s attacks.

The Maersk Hangzhou, a Singapore-flagged vessel, reported being hit by a missile and requested assistance. Subsequently, it issued a distress call regarding a second attack by four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats. The small boats fired at the Maersk Hangzhou with small arms weapons and came within approximately 20m (65ft) of the vessel. A contracted security team on board retaliated and US helicopters responded by sinking three of the four boats, while the fourth boat fled the area. No damage to US personnel or equipment was reported.

The commander of US naval forces in the Middle East stated that Houthi rebels continue their “reckless” attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, despite an increasing international maritime mission and the surge in trade traffic.

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