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LONDON: Attacks on commercial vessels by Yemen’s Houthis are a strategic threat to global shipping routes and seaborne traffic to Israel although there has been no direct impact on port activity, Israel’s Port of Ashdod said on Tuesday.

The Iran-backed Houthis said on Tuesday they carried out a military operation against a Norwegian commercial tanker in their latest protest against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, underlining the risks of a conflict that has shaken the Middle East.

Yemen rebels threaten Israel-bound Red Sea ships

“We emphasize that we are doing everything in order to act fully and to maintain open gateways to Israel despite the challenges of the war,” the port said in a statement.

Israel relies on its maritime trade for imports and its exports. Ashdod in the south and Haifa in the north are the country’s biggest ports.

The smaller port of Ashkelon, which is the closest to Gaza, has shut for the moment due to the war.

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