South Asia and Beyond

Houthis Say They Have Targeted ‘US Merchant Ship’ In Red Sea

 Houthis Say They Have Targeted ‘US Merchant Ship’ In Red Sea

The Houthi movement in Yemen claimed to have struck a ‘US merchant ship’ KOI in the Red Sea.

This comes hours after ‘Yemeni naval forces’ targeted the American destroyer USS Gravely with several anti-ship missiles in the Red Sea. Western media reports say the missiles were shot down.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said that the armed forces targeted an American merchant ship with “several appropriate naval missiles”.

Sarea claimed that the ship was heading to “the ports of occupied Palestine” and that Yemen would not hesitate to retaliate against “British-American escalation”.

“All American and British ships in the Red and Arabian Seas are legitimate targets for the Yemeni Armed Forces as long as the American-British aggression against our country continues,” he added.

According to various news reports, the ship that Houthis claim to have struck is a Liberian-flagged container ship operated by UK-based Oceonix Services. The same company’s fleet includes the oil tanker Marlin Luanda, which was damaged by a missile attack on January 29.

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Over the past few days, the US has launched airstrikes in Yemen targeting the Houthis.

The US Central Command said the 10 drones being prepared for launch in Yemen had posed a threat to merchant vessels and US warships in the region.

All 10 were destroyed along with a Houthi drone ground control station, it said.

The Houthi attacks started months after Israel launched an offensive in Gaza, following the killing of 1,300 Israelis in a bloody attack carried out by Hamas. The Israeli offence in Gaza has killed over 26,900 people – mostly women and children.

The Houthis are an armed political and religious group that champions Yemen’s Shia Muslim minority, the Zaidis.

They are backed by Iran along with armed groups such as Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.