More than 20 countries join coalition to protect Red Sea shipping, says Pentagon

More than 20 countries have joined the US-led coalition to protect Red Sea shipping from attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Pentagon says.

The Iran-backed Houthis have repeatedly targeted vessels in the vital shipping lane with strikes they say are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is battling terror group Hamas following its unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7.

“We’ve had over 20 nations now sign on to participate” in the coalition, Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder tells journalists.

Ryder said the Houthis are “attacking the economic wellbeing and prosperity of nations around the world,” effectively becoming “bandits along the international highway that is the Red Sea.”

Coalition forces will “serve as a highway patrol of sorts, patrolling the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to respond to — and assist as necessary — commercial vessels that are transiting this vital international waterway,” he says, calling on the Houthis to cease their attacks.

The latest round of the Israel-Hamas conflict began when the Palestinian terror group carried out a shock cross-border attack on October 7 that killed around 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians. Terrorists also abducted some 240 people.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel began a bombardment of targets in Gaza, alongside a ground invasion, which Gaza’s Hamas terror government on Wednesday said has killed at least 20,000 people since October 7, without differentiating between combatants and civilians. That figure cannot be independently verified and includes those killed by failed Palestinian rocket launches. Israeli officials have said over 8,000 of those killed in Gaza are Hamas operatives. The IDF says 137 soldiers have been killed during the ground offensive so far.

The United States announced the multinational Red Sea coalition on Monday, while the Houthis warned two days later that they would strike back if attacked.

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