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‘Do not play with fire’ Yemen warns EU as Brussels embarks on Red Sea mission

‘Do not play with fire’ Yemen warns EU as Brussels embarks on Red Sea mission

EU warships have set off for the Red Sea, where the US navy is waging its largest conflict since the end of WWII in support of Israel

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A high-ranking Yemeni official has warned the EU against “supporting the American devil to protect [Israel]” following the formal launch of the Aspides naval mission in the Red Sea.

“For Europeans, do not play with fire. Take a lesson from Britain,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a senior member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, said via social media on 20 February.

“You do not need the support of the American devil in protecting the occupying entity so that it can exterminate the people of Gaza with no disturbance,” Houthi added, stressing that “international navigation is safe.”

His message followed an announcement by Brussels of the official launch of the EU naval operation codenamed Aspides – Greek for shield.

“I welcome today’s decision … Europe will ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, working alongside our international partners. Beyond crisis response, it’s a step towards a stronger European presence at sea to protect our European interests,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said via social media.

France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium have said they will contribute ships to the EU mission in support of Israel.

The bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, described the mission as “bold action to protect the commercial and security interests of the EU and the international community.”

With a mandate initially set for one year, Aspides will see the deployment of EU warships and airborne early warning systems to the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and surrounding waters. According to officials in Brussels, the mission will be exclusively defensive, and its forces will not partake in US-led attacks against Yemen.

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