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13 Jan, 2024 17:51

Germany to join EU mission against Houthis – media

A frigate equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and attack helicopters is to set sail for the Red Sea on February 1, Die Welt has reported
Germany to join EU mission against Houthis – media

Berlin is planning to send its F-124 ‘Hessen’ frigate to the Gulf of Aden early next month, the German newspaper Die Welt’s weekend edition has reported, citing sources.

The Sachsen class vessel is equipped with a reconnaissance radar capable of simultaneously detecting up to 1,000 targets, air defense missiles, and attack helicopters. It also carries anti-ship Harpoon missiles and torpedoes.

The warship is reportedly scheduled to leave German shores on February 1 and head towards the Red Sea. The paper reported that the move is expected to be part of a new EU maritime mission in the area.

The situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden remains tense amid a decision by London and Washington to launch a military operation there in response to the actions of the Yemen-based Houthi Islamist group.

The Houthis have pledged solidarity with the Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas militant group in Gaza. The Yemeni group vowed to target merchant vessels sailing through the Gulf of Aden until Israel stops its war with Hamas, which had already claimed tens of thousands of lives in Gaza due to heavy Israeli bombardments.

More than 50 countries have since been affected by 27 Houthi attacks on ships as of mid-January, Washington stated. This week, the US and the UK started carrying out airstrikes on dozens of Houthi-related targets in Yemen.

Moscow condemned what it called “illegitimate” airstrikes on Yemen by Washington and London, adding that the two nations did so without the UN Security Council’s permission. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US and the UK of seeking to turn the Red Sea into a “sea of blood.”

Berlin supported the military action by stating that it aligned with the UN Charter. Now, according to Die Welt, Germany and France want the EU to expand its maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz, also known as Operation Agenor, to cover the Gulf of Aden as well. According to the paper, it can also be framed as a separate EU mission.

The bloc’s ships are primarily supposed to monitor the situation in the area and escort the civilian vessels going through the gulf. Yet, they will reportedly also be authorized to use military force to shoot down Houthi missiles and drones, Die Welt said.

The new mission is expected to be approved at a meeting of the EU foreign ministers on February 19 and to be officially launched before the end of the same month, the paper said.

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