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Houthi drone attack hits merchant vessel in Red Sea

Aden (Yemen), June 23, 2024
A merchant vessel flying the Liberian flag was struck by a Houthi drone attack while sailing in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah early Sunday morning, a pro-government naval official told Xinhua.

The Yemeni official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the merchant vessel, identified as the “Transworld Navigator,” was targeted at approximately 5:05 a.m. local time (0205 GMT), confirming that the ship sustained damage from the direct hit, though the extent of the damage remains unspecified.

According to the official, no casualties were reported among the crew. Notably, this incident follows a separate attack on the same vessel while it was navigating the Gulf of Aden on Saturday.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) confirmed receiving a report of an incident approximately 65 nautical miles west of Hodeidah, reported Xinhua news agency.

The UKMTO’s statement indicated that the master of a merchant vessel reported an impact from an uncrewed aerial system, which resulted in ship damage. All crew members were reported safe, and the ship was said to be proceeding to its next port of call.

The Houthi group has not officially commented on the incident. However, on Saturday, the group claimed to have targeted the US aircraft carrier Eisenhower in the northern Red Sea and the “Transworld Navigator” in the Arabian Sea with multiple missiles.

The group also announced joint operations with Iraqi armed factions, allegedly targeting five ships in the Israeli port of Haifa and the Mediterranean Sea.

These attacks are part of a broader campaign by the Houthis, which began in November 2023, targeting ships in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait. The group claims to be targeting vessels associated with Israel or en route to Israeli ports, citing the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip as justification.

In response to these attacks, the United States and Britain launched a military operation in January, including air and missile strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. This intervention has led the Houthi group to expand its targeting to include American and British commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

This ongoing conflict along the vital shipping lanes of the Red Sea and surrounding waters continues to raise concerns about maritime security and global trade implications.(Agency)

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