The Commander of the Egyptian navy, Lieutenant General Ahmed Khaled, said on Monday October 20th that Egypt has four naval units to secure maritime traffic in the southern Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which is considered as the southern entrance to the Suez Canal.
Khaled explained during a press conference held on the occasion of "Navy Day" that these units have secured more than 45 million tons of crude oil, guarding more than 450 ships, intercepting more than 2000 ships, adding that sailing hours for those units exceeded 70 thousand hours during the past four years.
In 2018, the former Yemeni foreign minister, Khaled al-Yamani, praised the Egyptian military presence in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab, and added that the Egyptian presence contributed to activating the international ban imposed in accordance with Article 14 of Security Council Resolution 2216 on arms smuggling from Iran to the Houthis militias.
At that time, Al-Yamani stressed in an interview with the Egyptian state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm that the Egyptian army protected Bab al-Mandab from Iran, saying, "There are Egyptian naval units deployed in Bab al-Mandab , this deployment is considered active participation of the Egyptian armed forces in the coalition to support legitimacy, and just as Egypt stood with Yemen to stabilise the republican system, Egypt stands today to restore Yemeni legitimacy with an alliance of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia”
The Strait of Bab el-Mandeb is considered the southern entrance to Egypt’s Suez Canal, one of the most important international shipping lanes for trade in the world and one of the most important sources of income for Egypt, especially foreign currency.
In 2015, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared that "securing navigation in the Red Sea and protecting the Bab al-Mandab Strait is a top priority of Egypt's national security," according to a presidential statement released at that time.
Similarly, Sisi later added in a televised speech broadcast by state television that the security of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait also concerns "Arab national security”.
Also in the same year, former Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish said that Egypt would not accept the closure of the Bab al-Mandab Strait in any way, and would intervene militarily if needed.
Mamish added that the closure action "affects Egyptian national security, and directly affects the Suez Canal”. He stressed that the closure threats are unacceptable, pointing out that these threats will not only threaten trade traffic to Egypt but will threaten the movement of all ships.
He said that closure of the Bab al-Mandab Strait meant stopping world trade, which no one would allow.
In September 2014, the Houthis militia backed by Iran seized power from the legitimate government in Yemen and took control of the government headquarters in Sanaa.