Volvo Cars to pause production at its Gent, Belgium, plant for three days due to delay of delivery of gear boxes caused by security situation in Red Sea, which is affecting shipping

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STOCKHOLM , January 12, 2024 (press release) –

Yemenis protest Friday following U.S. and British airstrikes, in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa. The airstrikes on rebel sites in Yemen follow weeks of disruptive attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Iran-backed Houthis who say they act in solidarity with Gaza. (AFP via Getty Images)

Volvo Cars will next week pause output at its plant in Gent in Belgium for three days due to delays caused by the security situation in the Red Sea, the company said on Friday.

A delivery of gear boxes has been delayed, a spokesperson for the Sweden-based automaker said, the second company after Tesla to disclose an interruption to production because of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.

Car deliveries, production targets and its other European plant in Gothenburg, Sweden, were not affected by the pause, the spokesperson said.

The attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi militants, in solidarity with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in its fight against Israel in Gaza, have disrupted one of the world's most important shipping routes, forcing container vessels to travel via southern Africa and avoid the Suez Canal. That adds about 10 days and $1 million fuel costs to a journey from Asia to Europe, and has disrupted many businesses' supply chains.

The U.S. and Britain on Friday struck some 70 sites in Yemen, targeting the Iran-backed Houthi forces. The airstrikes had "good effects," Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said on Friday, and U.S. and British militaries will continue to monitor the situation for any retaliatory strikes.

There are currently no plans to send additional U.S. troops to the region, Ryder said in an interview with CNN.

"Our initial assessment is that we had good effects," he said. "We will continue to monitor and as the president and (Defense) Secretary Austin have said, we will continue to take necessary action."

U.S. and British warplanes, ships and submarines launched dozens of airstrikes across Yemen overnight in retaliation against Iran-backed Houthi forces for attacks on Red Sea shipping, widening regional conflict stemming from Israel's war in Gaza.

Asked about worries that the conflict might escalate, Ryder said the U.S. continues to work to contain the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The Houthi militants' attacks on commercial shipping in the vital Red Sea waterway has affected more than 50 countries, Ryder noted, and the United States and its allies see the actions as distinct from what is happening in Gaza.

"No one wants to see a wider regional conflict. But again, we also cannot allow for this kind of dangerous, reckless behavior," he said.

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