The Houthis threaten: “If Italy gets in our way we will attack it.” “The Caio Duilio ship destroyed our drone”


By John

“We are not attacking Italy as such, but if it hinders our action it leaves us with no other choice.” The Yemeni Houthis respond with threats to Italy's commitment to defending ships in the Red Sea. In an interview with ANSA, Zayd al-Gharsi, director of the media department of the Presidency of the Republic in Sanaa, recalled the episode of the UAV shot down last March 2 by the Caio Duilio ship of the Navy, and promised a retaliation: «It's a shame that Italy shot down one of our drones. We will behave accordingly”, he stated, after wanting to “remember that we did not wage war on Italy or on other European countries.

Our fight is for the defense of the Palestinians against Zionist aggression” on Gaza. «Our drones and our weapons are aimed at Israel and at those who defend Israel in front of our coasts», the official then reiterated on the very day in which the group supported by Iran claimed responsibility for the launch of 37 drones against «a number of US destroyers in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” in what appears to be the rebels' most intense attack since the start of their operations against maritime traffic in November.

The US Middle East Command (Centcom) claims to have shot down 15 enemy aircraft before dawn on Saturday, calling the “large-scale” attack a threat to merchant ships, the US Navy and coalition ships in the region . “Italy is a friendly country for us, with a great maritime tradition and sea culture”, underlined al-Gharsi.

“We wonder why he decided to join the coalition of the Americans and the British,” the official added.

However, this is not true: our country is in fact not part of the Prosperity Guardian operation launched by Washington with a coalition to respond to the Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea. Italy is instead present in the European mission Atalanta – which has been monitoring the area against Somali piracy for years and has now come under Italian command – and for a few days also in the Aspides mission, the European shield against terrorist attacks, after the favorable vote by Parliament. The operational base of the mission is the Caio Duilio, a Navy destroyer that intercepted and shot down the Houthi drone last week.

But if the threats to Italy are worrying, the work of the international missions remains necessary: ​​in fact, the attacks by the Yemeni group are increasing, which on March 6 for the first time also caused three deaths and six injuries after a raid hit a cargo ship Greek property. Protecting merchant ships is fundamental, also for the Italian economy: 40% of our country's exports pass through that route.