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Houthis strike 2 Israel-linked vessels off Yemen coast

December 4, 2023 at 10:17 am

03 Maxar closeup view satellite imagery off the southern Red Sea near Hodeida, Yemen that shows the recently seized Galaxy Leader ship that was captured by Houthi fighters on November 19th. The ship is anchored offshore of As Salif, Yemen and has a support tender vessel positioned nearby. [Satellite image (c) 2023 Maxar Technologies Via Getty Images]

Three commercial vessels came under attack in international waters in the southern Red Sea, the US military said yesterday, as Yemen’s Houthi group claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area, Reuters reports.

The Carney, an American destroyer, responded to distress calls and provided assistance following missile and drone launches from Houthi-controlled territory, according to US Central Command.

Yemen’s Houthi movement said its navy had attacked two Israeli ships, Unity Explorer and Number 9, with an armed drone and a naval missile. A spokesperson for the group’s military said the two ships were targeted after they rejected warnings, without elaborating.

In a broadcast statement, the spokesperson said the attacks were in response to the demands of the Yemeni people and calls from Islamic nations to stand with the Palestinian people.

The US military said the Carney shot down three drones as it helped the commercial vessels. It was not clear if the warship was a target.

It said the attacks were a threat to international commerce.

Yemen: Houthis claim responsibility for attack on Israel vessel

“We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran,” the statement said.

“The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners,” it added.

Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the two ships had no connection to Israel.

“One ship was significantly damaged and it is in distress and apparently is in danger of sinking and another ship was lightly damaged,” Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv.

The reported incident follows a series of attacks in Middle Eastern waters since Israel began its genocidal bombing campaign in Gaza on 7 October.

An Israeli-linked cargo ship was seized in November by the Houthis.

According to US Central Command, the Unity Explorer suffered minor damage while the Number 9 also reported damage.

UK-based Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), which manages the Number 9, said the vessel is currently sailing and there were no reports of injuries or pollution after the incident. The vessel was hit by a projectile while transiting the Bab El-Mandab Strait, the company said.