Reports that Yemeni Houthi militants are heading towards Bab Al-Mandab strait in an attempt to block it led Lieutenant General Mohab Mamish, head of the Suez Canal Authority, to state that Egypt’s army will immediately intervene if the Houthis, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, threaten Egypt’s strategic strait.
Bab Al-Mandab strait
A military source added that Egypt’s Air Forces will bomb the Houthi militants’ hideout with long-range missiles if need be because “Cairo will do whatever it takes to protect its interests.”
Mamish said that Egypt will not accept the blocking of Bab Al-Mandab.
“This will harm Egypt’s national security and directly affect the Suez Canal,” he said, adding that Egypt is following up closely on the situation in Yemen.
Mamish stated that threats by Houthi militants to block the strait will not be tolerated, adding that such a move will not only threaten Egypt’s trade, but also international trade.
The Bab Al-Mandab strait is a waterway that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Bordering the strait from the east is Yemen, and from the west Eritrea and Djibouti.
This strait is crucial to international trade, and its water is regionally divided among the countries that overlook it.
Because of the strategic importance of Bab Al-Mandab, countries that border the strait are following up on the developments in Yemen, especially in the countries overlooking the Red Sea, amid fears that the militant Houthis may take control of the Asian side of Bab Al-Mandab.
Ships in Bab Al-Mandab strait (photo: Reuters)