Yemen’s Houthi group attacks 2 US ships in Gulf of Aden

Sanaa: Yemen’s Houthi group has announced that they launched missile attacks against two US ships in the Gulf of Aden, saying the hits were “accurate”.

In a televised statement aired by the group’s satellite TV channel al-Masirah, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said on Monday evening that the attacks against American ships, Sea Champion and Navis Fortuna, were “accurate and direct,” without specifying the damages or casualties.

According to Sarea, the attacks brought the total number of Houthi operations during the past 24 hours to four, Xinhua news agency reported.

The first targeted a British ship resulting in its complete sinking. The second shot down a US MQ9 drone in the airspace of Hodeidah Governorate, while the last two attacks targeted two US ships.

“Our operations in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea will escalate and will not stop unless (Israeli) aggression (on Hamas) stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted,” the Houthi military spokesperson said in the statement.

Earlier on Monday, Britain’s Maritime Trade Operations agency said the crew had safely departed the attacked Britain-registered vessel.

Meanwhile, the US Central Command said in a brief statement posted on social media platform X that the British cargo vessel was hit by two ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in northern Yemen.

“Between 9:30 and 10:45 p.m., February 18, two anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen toward MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned bulk carrier. One of the missiles struck the vessel, causing damage,” the US Central Command said.

“The ship issued a distress call and a coalition warship along with another merchant vessel responded to the call to assist the crew of the MV Rubymar. The crew was transported to a nearby port by the merchant vessel,” the US Central Command added.

Shortly before the Houthi forces’ televised statement, the Houthi forces accused the US and Britain of launching an airstrike on the area of Al-Jabanah in the port city of Hodeidah, which is under Houthi control.

Residents there said an explosion occurred in an empty location.

On Saturday, the US Central Command conducted “five successful strikes in self-defence” against Houthi targets, including mobile missiles and “for the first time” underwater drones.

It said its strikes since January against the Houthi forces aimed to degrade the Houthi military capabilities.

However, Houthis, in response, have increased and expanded their attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since last November to include the US and British navy ships recently.

The Houthi forces have been controlling the strategic Hodeidah on the Red Sea since the 2018 UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement, which was backed by the US and Britain, forcing the Yemeni internationally recognised government out.

IANS

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