Houthis threaten UK and US in first in-depth interview with Western media

A Houthi official threatened the UK and US in one of the first in-depth interviews the Yemen-based, Iran-backed group has given since the Gaza war, as Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports.

The Houthis have vowed to continue attacks on UK and US ships in the Red Sea if there is no ceasefire in Gaza, and told ITV News it would attack the UK itself if it had the capacity to do so.

In the first in-depth interview given to Western media by the Iranian-backed Yemeni group since the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, a Houthi official said it will target the UK and the US "wherever" it can reach.

"If we had rockets and warplanes that could reach deep into America and Britain, we would hit them without any hesitation, as long as they are attacking Yemen", Mohammed al-Bukhaiti - a spokesperson and official - told ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo.

"This is a legitimate right for Yemen", he added.

'If we had rockets and warplanes that could reach deep into the US and UK, of course we would hit them', Houthi official Mohammad al-Bukhaiti told ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo.

The Houthi official said the group would escalate if Israeli action in Gaza continues with what it perceives as Western support.

He said that if aggression against Gaza does not stop and if the "siege is not lifted" there will be an "escalation" which will be "announced in due course", Mr al-Bukhaiti said. He added that the Houthis have "many options" in terms of escalation, if the UK and US were to "target Yemeni civilians".

"Our war [attacks against US and UK vessels] is a legitimate one", he said, speaking from within Yemen.

"We did not initiate attacks on America or Britain either in the Red Sea or in their countries, but if there is aggression against us from any country we will respond wherever our hands can reach", he added.

Mr al-Bukhaiti didn't rule out targeting British and American embassies and army bases, when asked by ITV News.

"Such operations are not on the table now but we have many options to escalate if there is American and British escalation that targets Yemeni civilians", the Houthi official said.

Rohit Kachroo questioned Mohammed al-Bukahiti on whether the Houthis were using the situation in Gaza to broaden support in Yemen.

The Houthis are a Shia Islamist political and military group - backed by Iran - that has been fighting a war against Yemen's government - which is supported by Saudi Arabia - since 2014.

The first Houthi attack on commercial ships in the Red Sea came on 19th November. The group has since attacked more than 20 ships using missiles and drones. The attacks have been in response to the war in Gaza.

The Houthis have said they will target all ships bound for Israel or vessels that are Israeli-owned or flagged. UK and US-flagged and owned ships have also been targeted.

Some shipping companies have stopped using the Red Sea - which is used as a route by 15% of global sea trade - as a result of the attacks.

The UK and US have retaliated with air strikes in response to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

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