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Washington, Dec 15 – The United States is expected to announce on Friday the deployment of a “special upgraded multinational task force” in the Red Sea to deter Yemen’s rebel Ansar Allah movement, also known as the Houthis, from further attacks on ships, Axios reported, citing two Israeli and US officials.

The report cited a senior Israeli official as saying that the task force would not escort ships in the Red Sea, but its presence would make it easier to respond to threats.

The media also cited US officials as saying that the Biden administration has recently sent several messages to Houthi rebels via a number of channels, warning them to stop attacks on ships in the Red Sea and against Israel.

US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking has recently visited the Gulf and asked his Saudi Arabian, Omani, and Qatari counterparts to convey warning messages to the Houthis. The report said that Washington is highly concerned about rebels’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea, adding that several countries in the region gave similar messages to the movement and made clear that their attacks are “unacceptable.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder told a briefing on Thursday that information about the task force would be provided in the near future.

The Houthis have earlier said that they would continue to prevent the passage of ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea linked to Israeli companies or bound for Israel until Israel’s military action in the Palestinian Gaza Strip ends.

After the conflict broke out between Israel and Palestinian movement Hamas on October 7, the Houthis conducted multiple missile and drone attacks, threatening civilian infrastructure in Israel and commercial shipping operating in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.