GlobalFollowing recent US attacks in Yemen, Iran warns of alleged spy ships...

Following recent US attacks in Yemen, Iran warns of alleged spy ships in the Middle East

Iran on Sunday issued a warning to the United States about the possibility of American attacks on two cargo ships in the Middle East long suspected of serving as forward operating bases for Iranian commandos, just after the United States and the United Kingdom launched a massive bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Iran’s statement about the Behshad and Saviz freighters appeared to indicate Tehran’s growing unease over U.S. strikes in recent days in Iraq, Syria and Yemen against militias backed by the Islamic Republic.

Those attacks, part of a retaliation campaign for the deaths of three American soldiers and the wounding of dozens more in Jordan, date back to Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has heightened tensions across the Middle East. East and has raised fears about a regional outbreak of the conflict.

The attacks recorded overnight on Sunday in Yemen hit six provinces of Yemen controlled by the Houthi rebels, including the capital Sanaa. The Houthis did not provide an assessment of the damage, but the United States said it struck underground missile arsenals, launch sites and helicopters used by the rebels.

“These attacks will not deter Yemeni forces and the nation from maintaining their support for the Palestinians in the face of occupation and Zionist crimes,” said Houthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree. “Air strikes by the aggressors will not go unanswered.”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned the Houthis after the attacks that they “will continue to suffer further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international cargo ships and naval vessels.” That message was taken up by the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, who said that “the Houthi attacks must stop.”

The Behshad and Saviz are registered as commercial cargo ships with a Tehran-based company that the U.S. Treasury has sanctioned as a front for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state shipping lines. The Saviz, and later the Behshad, have lurked for years in the Red Sea off Yemen, suspected of serving as spy positions for Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

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Baldor and Copp reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and Brian Melley in London contributed to this report.

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