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An American cargo ship is under Houthi missile attack off Yemen

An American cargo ship is under Houthi missile attack off Yemen

On Monday, an American cargo ship was hit by a missile fired by the Houthis off the Yemeni city of Aden, a day after an attack targeting an American destroyer in the Red Sea, for which Washington held the Yemeni rebels responsible.

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At approximately 4:00 pm (1:00 pm GMT), “the Iran-backed Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile (…) and hit the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship M/V Gibraltar Eagle.” “, belonging to an American shipowner, the US military command in the Middle East (Centcom) indicated that there were no casualties and “no major damage.”

The British Maritime Safety Agency (UKMTO) had reported the incident earlier, reporting that a ship had been “hit from above by a missile” southeast of the city of Aden, south of Yemen.

The Houthi rebels, who control large swaths of Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they “targeted an American ship in the Gulf of Aden with a number of suitable naval missiles, and hit it accurately and directly.”

This attack comes as part of a “response” to the American-British strikes against Yemen, as announced by their military spokesman, Yahya Saree.

He added that his movement considers “all American and British ships and warships participating in the aggression against the country as hostile targets.”

US and British forces carried out strikes on Yemen on Friday and Saturday targeting Houthi positions, in response to increasing Yemeni rebel attacks in the Red Sea in recent weeks.

These attacks disrupted maritime traffic in this strategic region, as the Houthis say they are targeting ships suspected of being linked to Israel, claiming that they are working in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

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According to British marine risk company Ambrey, the cargo ship targeted on Monday was heading towards the Suez Canal, and was not linked to Israel. Embry believes he was targeted because of his membership in an American group.

New strategy?

On Sunday, Houthi media reported new strikes, but Washington denied these reports and said it shot down a cruise missile that targeted an American destroyer in the southern Red Sea.

A Houthi military source told AFP that “three missiles were launched” on Monday from different areas in central and southern Yemen, without commenting on the targets.

For its part, the US military said that it shot down “an anti-ship ballistic missile launched towards the shipping lanes in the southern Red Sea” and it landed on Yemeni territory.

In this context, the Department of Transportation in Washington reiterated its warning to American ships, stressing “the high degree of risk in the southern Red Sea.”

For Mohammed Al-Basha, of US consultancy Navanti, the attack off the coast of Aden could be a sign of a change in strategy on the part of the Houthis.

“With US and British Navy warships mainly focused on the Red Sea,” to the west of Yemen, the Houthis “can redirect their attention toward ships in the Gulf of Aden (south) and in the Arabian Sea (east),” he stressed.

About 12% of global trade passes through the Red Sea, but since mid-November, Houthi attacks have forced many shipping companies to avoid the region and take the longest route around the tip of Africa, at the expense of additional and longer transportation costs. Delivery times.

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