French leader explains decision not to join US-led strikes on Houthis


French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said his country did not join US-led airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen to avoid escalation in the region.

But French forces would continue work to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, he said. 

“We interrupted missiles and drones which were going to strike Norwegian ships. And so we act to protect our own equipment and the equipment of our allies,” Macron said at a news conference in Paris.  

France joined a multinational naval task force in December to protect ships from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. 

On Tuesday, the Houthis claimed responsibility for an attack on a Greek-owned vessel it said was headed toward Israel. Hours earlier, the US military launched new strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

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