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Commercial vessel hit by missile off Yemen

By AFP

February 1, 2024 11:26 AM


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A missile fired from Yemen hit a merchant vessel off the war-torn country's coast, maritime security firm Ambrey said early Thursday, after Huthi rebels claimed an attack an American ship.

"A merchant vessel was reportedly targeted with a 'missile' while underway... southwest of Aden, Yemen," Ambrey said, adding that "the vessel reported an explosion" on board.

"Ambrey was aware that a missile was fired from... Taiz," a governorate in Yemen, the firm said.

The statement came after Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels said they fired missiles at an American ship heading to Israeli ports.

The missiles "directly hit the vessel," which the rebels identified as "Kol," Huthi spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement on social media.

Saree said the ship was hit in the Gulf of Aden.

The Huthis, part of the anti-Western, anti-Israel "axis of resistance" of Iranian-backed groups, have been harassing Red Sea shipping for months, triggering US and British reprisal attacks.

The Huthis have launched more than 30 attacks on commercial shipping and naval vessels since November 19, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The rebels say the attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinians and in protest at the Israel-Hamas war that has been raging in the Gaza Strip since October.

The attacks have prompted some shipping companies to detour around southern Africa to avoid the Red Sea, a vital route that normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade.

In response, US and British forces have launched strikes targeting Huthi missile sites and other military facilities. The US has also carried out a series of unilateral strikes.

On Wednesday, American forces destroyed a missile belonging to the Huthi rebels, the military said.

US forces "struck and destroyed a Huthi surface-to-air missile that was prepared to launch" after determining that it "presented an imminent threat to US aircraft," US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

Huthi-run Al-Masirah television had earlier said US and UK aircraft had targeted the northern city of Saada, but did not identify the specific target or provide information on damage or casualties.


AFP


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