Attack targets ship near Bab al-Mandab Strait

AP , Wednesday 24 Apr 2024

A ship near the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait saw an explosion in the distance Wednesday, marking what may be a new attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels through the crucial waterway for international trade.

houthi
File photo- A Saar-6 corvette, the latest-generation warship which Israel is using for its naval defense system amid maritime threats from Yemen s Houthi , is seen in waters in Eilat, Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. AP

 

The explosion, reported by the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center, comes after a relative lull from the Houthis after they launched dozens of attacks on shipping in the region over Israel's ongoing war on Gaza .

The Houthis did not immediately claim responsibility for the blast, but suspicion fell on the group as they've repeatedly targeted ships in the same area. It typically takes the Houthis several hours before acknowledging their attacks.

The explosion happened some 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden.

“The master of a merchant vessel reports an explosion in the water a distance form the vessel,” the UKMTO said. “Veseel and crew reported safe. Authorities are investigating."

The private maritime security firm Ambrey separately reported the apparent attack.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sank another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Houthi attacks have dropped in recent weeks as the rebels have been targeted by a U.S.-led airstrike campaign in Yemen and shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat. American officials have speculated that the rebels may be running out of weapons as a result of the U.S.-led campaign against them and firing off drones and missiles steadily in the last months.

The Houthis have said they would continue their attacks until Israel ends its war in Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians there. 

The rebels have also fired missiles toward Israel, though they have largely fallen short or been intercepted.

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