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Iranian warship enters Red Sea as tensions soar

The Alborz warship has entered the Red Sea, where a US-led maritime coalition has been deployed to stop attacks from Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Iran's Alborz warship has entered the Red Sea, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Monday, with the reports coming just hours after the US said it had sunk three ships, killing 10 Houthi militants, and Britain warned it will not hesitate in taking "direct action" to prevent further attacks on shipping in the stretch.

The presence of the Iranian warship is likely to ratchet up already high tensions in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Since the conflict started, multiple vessels in area have been attacked by forces allied to Tehran.

The Iran-backed Houthis from Yemen have been targeting ships since November to show their support for Hamas, the group designated as a terror network by the US, the EU and others.

In response, many major shipping companies have stopped sending their ship through the Suez Canal. The canal is a crucial trade route between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, handling about 12% of world trade, but an increasing number of ships now takes the longer and more costly route around Africa's Cape of Good Hope.

US helicopters repel Houthi attack

Early on Sunday, US helicopters repelled an attack by Iran-backed Houthi militants on a Maersk container vessel in the Red Sea, sinking three ships and killing 10 militants, according to accounts by American, Maersk, and Houthi officials.

The attackers sought to board the Singapore-flagged Maersk Hangzhou, Maersk and the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

The Danish shipping firm said it will pause all sailing through the Red Sea for 48 hours.

Britain threatens 'direct action'

Meanwhile, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain would not hesitate to take "direct action" to prevent further attacks on shipping and "to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea."

"The Houthis should be under no misunderstanding: we are committed to holding malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks," he said.

And London's Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he had told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in a telephone call that Tehran should help stop the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

Second publication by courtesy of DW


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