Ship targeted in suspected Yemen Houthi rebel drone attack in southern Red Sea as tensions high

AP , Tuesday 6 Feb 2024

A ship traveling through the southern Red Sea was attacked by a suspected Yemen Houthi rebel drone early on Tuesday, authorities said, the latest assault in their campaign targeting vessels over the Israeli war on Gaza.

An aerial picture shows stacks of containers pictured on the deck of the MSC Allegra (R) and Ever At
An aerial picture shows stacks of containers pictured on the deck of the MSC Allegra (R) and Ever Atop (L) container ships, docked beside container cranes at the UK s largest freight port, in Felixstowe on the East coast of England, on January 27, 2024. AFP


The attack happened west of the Yemeni port of Hodeida, and the projectile caused “slight damage” to the vessel's windows on the bridge, the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said. A small vessel had been nearby the ship before the attack, it added.

The private security firm Ambrey identified the vessel as a Barbados-flagged, United Kingdom-owned cargo ship. No one was hurt onboard the vessel, which suffered “minor damage,” the firm said.

Later, a military spokesman of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, claimed in a statement that the rebel forces attacked two separate vessels, one American and one British, in the Red Sea. He provided no evidence to support the claim.

One of the ships the Houthis claimed attacking, the Morning Tide, matched details provided by Ambrey. Tracking data showed it to be in the Red Sea near the reported attack. Its owners could not be immediately reached.

Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea over Israel’s offensive in Gaza. But they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for trade among Asia, the Mideast and Europe.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and the United Kingdom, backed by other allies, have launched airstrikes targeting Houthi missile arsenals and launch sites for its attacks.

The U.S. and Britain struck 36 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday. An air assault Friday in Iraq and Syria targeted other Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in retaliation for a drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan.

The U.S. military's Central Command separately acknowledged an attack Monday on the Houthis, in which they attacked what they described as two Houthi drone boats loaded with explosives.

American forces “determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” the military said. “These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels.”

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