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    EU to Launch a Red Sea Naval Mission Within 3 Weeks to Protect Ships from Continued Houthi Attacks

    EU to Launch a Red Sea Naval Mission Within 3 Weeks to Protect Ships from Continued Houthi Attacks

    BRUSSELS — The European Union plans to launch a naval mission in the Red Sea within three weeks to help defend cargo ships against attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen that are hampering trade and driving up prices, the bloc's top diplomat said Wednesday.

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that he expects the bloc's foreign ministers to sign off on the mission when they meet on Feb. 19. Officials say that seven EU countries are ready to provide ships or planes. Belgium has already committed to send a frigate. is expected to do the same.

    The Iranian-backed Houthis have waged a persistent campaign of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships over 's offensive in against Hamas which began in October. However, the Yemen-based rebels have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade between Asia, the Mideast and Europe.

    Last week, U.S. and British forces bombed multiple targets in eight locations used by the Iranian-backed Houthis. It was the second time the two allies conducted coordinated retaliatory strikes on the rebels' missile-launching capabilities.

    Borrell insisted that the EU mission — dubbed Aspides, from the Greek for “shield” — will not take part in any strikes and will only operate at sea.

    “This is the purpose: protection of the ships. Intercepting of the attacks against the ships. Not…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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