Germany to send new frigate to protect ships in Red Sea


BERLIN: Germany said Saturday it will send a new frigate to the Red Sea in August to help secure maritime traffic, disrupted for months due to attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The ‘Hamburg’ will replace the ‘Hessen’, which left the zone on Saturday, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said.

The ‘Hessen’ had been deployed in the area on February 23 as part of the European Union’s “Aspides” mission to protect ships in the area.

The statement said the ‘Hamburg’ had escorted 27 merchant ships in the intervention zone and had on four occasions repulsed drone and missile attacks by the Huthis.

It had around 240 military personnel on board.

The Huthi rebels said Thursday they have attacked almost 100 vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in months of strikes.

They began attacking ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in November, a campaign they say is intended as a show of support for Palestinians in the war-battered Gaza Strip.

The attacks in the vital trade route have been met with retaliatory strikes by US and British forces since January.

Israel’s close ally the United States set up a multinational task force late last year to “protect” Red Sea shipping.

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