Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has issued a stark warning that Britain’s Armed Forces have been put on standby for a potentially dangerous year ahead due to escalating conflict in the Middle East.
As tensions rise, 200,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators took to the streets of London yesterday, chanting for the destruction of Israel and supporting recent attacks on Western ships by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
With concerns over public safety, more than 1,700 police officers were deployed to monitor the march, which passed through central London to Westminster. Several arrests were made during the event.
Lieutenant General Douglas Sims of the US military dismissed revenge threats from the Houthi warlords, stating, “We simply are not going to be messed with here.”
To counter the Houthi attacks, four RAF Typhoons, 12 US F-35 Lightning stealth fighters, as well as US warships and submarines, conducted airstrikes on 60 targets. Over 100 precision-guided munitions were used in the operation.
The Houthis’ illegal attacks on Western ships in the Red Sea, in solidarity with Hamas in Gaza, threaten to disrupt global trade and raise prices. There are concerns that this could lead to a recession in Britain.
Former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has called for increased military spending, stating that the current crisis highlights the need for Britain to be prepared for future instability.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree has vowed that the US and British airstrikes will not go unanswered. However, US President Joe Biden has expressed confidence in their preparedness and has sent a private warning message to Iran.
Analysts fear that the attacks on Yemen could lead to a wider regional conflict, involving Israel’s enemies such as Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
During the pro-Palestine march in London, several arrests were made, including individuals distributing flyers supporting Hamas' actions against Jews. Others were detained for offensive placards and possession of stickers intended for criminal damage.
Speakers at Trafalgar Square included Sinn Finn president Mary Lou McDonald, Palestinian UK ambassador Husam Zomlot, and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Please note that the UK was not involved in the recent limited attacks, but Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has not ruled out the possibility of further action.
Israel has reported that it killed three armed Palestinian teenagers attempting to break into a settlement in the occupied West Bank on Friday.