UN Envoy Warns Gaza War and Red Sea Attacks by Houthi Rebels Risk Propelling Yemen Back into War

by Edith M. Lederer at military.com

UNITED NATIONS — The longer the war in Gaza goes on and Yemen’s Houthi rebels keep attacking ships in the Red Sea the greater the risk that Yemen could be propelled back into war, the U.N. special envoy for the poorest Arab nation warned Thursday.

Hans Grundberg told the U.N. Security Council it has been impossible to shield his promising efforts to restore peace to Yemen because the reality is, “what happens regionally impacts Yemen – and what happens in Yemen can impact the region.”

Since November, the Iranian-backed Houthis have targeted ships in the Red Sea to demand a cease-fire in Israel’s offensive in Gaza. It began after Gaza’s Hamas rulers launched a surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people and led to about 250 others being taken captive. Israel’s ongoing military operation has killed more than 31,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The Houthi attacks targeting vessels since November, however, have increasingly had little or no connection to Israel, the United States or other nations involved in the war. In the first fatal strike, a Houthi missile struck a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden last week, killing three of its crew members and forcing survivors to abandon the vessel.

The war between the Houthis and pro-government forces backed by a coalition of Gulf Arab states has raged since 2014 when the Houthis swept down from the mountains, seized much of northern Yemen and the country’s capital, Sanaa, and forced the internationally recognized government to flee into exile to Saudi Arabia. Since then, more than 150,000 people have been killed by the violence and 3 million have been displaced.