US warns of underwater mines planted by Houthis in Bab al-Mandeb

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The US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) warned merchant ships from the dangers of mines that were set by Houthis and militias allied to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Bab al-Mandeb near the Mokha port entrance.

A report issued by the ONI stated that the attacks on ships in the strait, especially commercial ones, will trigger the involvement of other parties, pointing out that the US Navy will deploy all the needed efforts to protect the freedom of ships.

Bab el-Mandeb, which is 25 kilometers wide, is a very important waterway for global navigation, through which merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden sail to the Red Sea, and then to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.

It is one of the most crowded waterways for oil transportation in the Middle East and other regions. More than 60 commercial ships cross the strait of Bab al-Mandeb with more than 3.3 million oil barrels per day.

The US warning noted that the closure of this waterway would lead to substantial increases in total energy costs and global oil prices.

Last month, Houthis attacked Bab al-Mandeb, targeting a Saudi frigate and an Emirati relief ship. They have also targeted a US navy patrol vessel in 2016.

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