The deputy prime minister: “We defend merchant traffic, we don’t attack anyone, but we don’t want to be attacked by anyone. The Houthis are a terrorist organization”
‘‘We are not intimidated by Houthi threats” And ”if attacked we will respond, this must be clear”. This was stated by the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Antonio Tajani, on the sidelines of the Med Dialogues underway in Rome, after a leader of the Yemeni group, Mohamed Ali al-Houti, threatened to strike Italy “if it participates in the aggression against Yemen”. ”We defend merchant traffic, we don’t attack anyone, but we don’t want to be attacked by anyone”, added Tajani, underlining that ”there is free maritime movement and if there are attacks we will respond”. ”The Houthis are a terrorist organization,” the Foreign Minister said.
Houthi leader: “Italy will become a target if it participates in aggression against Yemen”
In an interview with ‘La Repubblica’ Mohamed Ali al-Houti, one of the leaders of the Ansar Allah movement (the Houthis) and cousin of the current leader Abdul-Malik al-Houti, warned: “Italy will become a target if will participate in the aggression against Yemen. Its involvement will be considered an escalation and militarization of the sea, and will not be effective. The passage of Italian and other ships during Yemeni operations in support of Gaza is evidence that the objective it’s known”.
“Our advice to Italy is to put pressure on Israel to stop the daily massacres in Gaza. This is what will lead to peace. We advise Italy to remain neutral, which is the least it can do – he added – There is no ‘is justification for any adventure outside its borders.”
“We advise the Europeans to increase pressure on those responsible for the horrors in Gaza. Our operations aim to stop the aggression and lift the siege. Any other justification for the escalation by the Europeans is unacceptable,” he further underlined.
According to Mohamed Ali al-Houti, “there is no blockage in the Red Sea.” “We only target ships associated with Israel, which head to occupied ports, owned by Israelis, or enter the port of Eilat,” he insisted. “We have no intention of closing the Bab el Mandeb Strait or the Red Sea.” And he stated: “Being classified as terrorists for supporting Gaza is an honor for us”, speaking of a “political and incorrect classification, without justification”. “If the United States sends troops to Yemen, it will face tougher challenges than those in Afghanistan and Vietnam. Our people are resilient, ready and have options to strategically defeat the Americans in the region,” he concluded.