Egypt rejects Israeli proposal to join US-led maritime coalition in Red Sea
Egypt has rejected an Israeli proposal to join a US-led maritime coalition formed under the pretext of protecting shipping in the strategic Red Sea following Yemen’s retaliatory attacks on Israeli-owned and -bound vessels in support of the Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel’s i24NEWS website reported the development after an Israeli foreign ministry delegation headed to the Egyptian capital of Cairo last week to discuss the possibility of Egypt joining the Washington-led multinational task force in the Red and the Arabian seas.
The Israeli website said Egypt "refused to take an active part in the coalition forces," leaving Bahrain as the only Arab country that has agreed to participate in the coalition.
The Pentagon announced in mid-December the launch of the maritime coalition under the banner of Operation Prosperity Guardian with five warships from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom patrolling the waters of the southern Red Sea and the western Gulf of Aden.
However, the task force has been beset by reluctant participation of its members and lack of interest from regional Arab states to be part of the coalition.
Yemen’s Defense Minister Major General Mohammad al-Atifi on Thursday warned foreign forces "against engaging in various activities supporting the Zionist entity in the maritime theater that spans between Arab states and Bahrain in the Red Sea."
Atifi underlined that Yemeni Armed Forces “are closely and rigorously monitoring the movement of American, British and French military forces in both bodies of water.”
Moreover, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, the top commander of US naval forces in the Middle East, in an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday acknowledged the failure of the multinational task force.
Cooper said Yemen’s Armed Forces and the popular Houthi Ansarullah resistance movement show no signs of ending their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea even as more nations join the maritime mission to protect vessels in the vital waterway.
The Yemeni armed forces and the popular resistance movement have on several occasions announced that those vessels which are not owned by and bound for Israel can safely transit the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.
The Israeli regime launched its devastating war on the Gaza Strip on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance movements carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.
The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed more than 22,000 people, most of them women and children. At least 57,000 individuals have also been wounded.
The regime has largely cut off access to water, food and power supplies in Gaza.