Home west asia Houthis Claim To Have Uncovered Spy Ring Aiding The US And Israel

Houthis Claim To Have Uncovered Spy Ring Aiding The US And Israel

FILE PHOTO: Participants take the oath of allegiance to the Houthi movement during a parade in a show of force amid a standoff in the Red Sea and U.S.-led airstrikes on Houthi targets, in Sanaa, Yemen, February 8, 2024. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/File Photo

Houthi rebels have said that they have uncovered a spy network that was aiding the United States and Israel. Saba news agency, which is the Houthis official news agency, said that the alleged spy ring which was named “Force 400” was led by a Yemeni national named Ammar Afash along with another handful of suspects which are suspected to number around 18.

The Houthis have claimed that the group was recruited in November after they began targeting vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, disrupting global trade in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians amid Israel’s war on Gaza.  According to the news agency report, the men confessed to “carrying out operations to monitor missile launching sites, drones, the locations of armed forces boats and submit their coordinates to their operators … for the purpose of being targeted by American and British enemy aircraft.”

Neither the US nor Israel have so far commented on the Houthis’ claims.

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The Houthis have threatened vessels linked to Israel, the US, and the UK. They’ve effectively closed the southern Red Sea to most Western ships, forcing them to avoid the Suez Canal and instead go around the southern tip of Africa when traveling between Asia and Europe. But recently, the Yemen-based group is also looking to strike Israeli-bound ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Houthi strikes have hurt global shipping, prompting firms to avoid a route that normally carries 12% of global trade. The US had launched a naval coalition called “Operation Prosperity Guardian” last December to deter the naval attacks, but so far they have not been successful. A report in The Telegraph stating that the group may have allied with the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda suggests that the group may become more formidable in the coming days.

(With inputs from Reuters & other agencies)