Egypt will not tolerate closure of Bab al-Mandeb Strait: Mahlab
Pro-Houthi protesters - REUTERS
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CAIRO:Egypt will never allow the Houthi militants in Yemen to close the Bab al-Mandab strait and would immediately respond by any possible way to prevent the Houthis from gaining control over the strait, said Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said Thursday.

“We never allow any threat against the Egyptian national security,” Mahlab added in an interview with a UAE T.V. show.

Media reports claimed that Houthis militants of Yemen were expanding their presence around the vital maritime corridor the strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa.

Mahlab’s statement came following other remarks issued Feb. 4 by the Egyptian Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish who said in a press conference “Egypt will not accept the closure of the strait in any way, and would intervene militarily if needed…this action affects Egyptian national security, and has a direct impact on the Suez Canal.”

Bab al-Mandeb Strait is an international way for the maritime navigation as it connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.

Yemeni newspapers reported Tuesday that Iran warned the Houthis group against reaching the strait to avoid any possible problems with Egypt.

On Jan. 26, a U.S. military delegation, headed by Deputy Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Rear Admiral James T. Loeblein, paid a two-day visit to Egypt, discussing the latest developments in Yemen, and their possible effect on maritime navigation in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, DPA reported.

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