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Suspected Houthi Missile Attack Targets Container Ship in Red Sea

Suspected Houthi Missile Attack Targets Container Ship in Red Sea

Suspected Houthi Missile Attack Targets Container Ship in Red Sea

On Monday, a suspected missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted a container ship in the Red Sea, according to authorities. This incident marks the latest assault in the ongoing campaign by the Houthis against international shipping in this critical maritime route.

The attack occurred off the coast of Mokha, Yemen, as reported by the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Centre (UKMTO). Details surrounding the event were scarce, but the UKMTO urged vessels in the area to proceed with caution.

Private security firm Ambrey provided further details, claiming that a salvo of three missiles targeted a Malta-flagged container ship travelling from Djibouti to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ambrey suggested that the vessel was chosen due to its listed operator’s trade relations with Israel.

However, CMA CGM, a shipping company headquartered in Marseille, France, clarified that their Malta-flagged vessel, CMA CGM Manta Ray, which was scheduled to sail the same route on Monday, remained docked in Djibouti and could not have been the target of the attack.

The Houthi rebels themselves haven’t yet acknowledged any involvement in the attack, though suspicion heavily falls on them. The group is known to take several hours before claiming responsibility for their assaults.

The Houthis, who are suspected of carrying out the attack, did not immediately claim responsibility. However, it’s common for them to take several hours or even days to acknowledge their assaults.

The Houthis claim that their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are aimed at pressuring Israel to end its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. They allege that more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, which began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7. The Houthis have launched over 50 attacks on shipping since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration, and have seized one vessel and sunk another.

Recent weeks have seen a decrease in Houthi attacks due to a U.S.-led airstrike campaign targeting the rebels in Yemen. However, shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has still declined due to the threat.

The Houthis claim their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are a response tactic, aiming to pressure Israel into ending its war against Hamas in Gaza. This conflict has resulted in the deaths of more than 34,000 Palestinians. The war itself began in response to attacks by Hamas-led militants on Israel in October, which tragically killed over 1,200 people and took hostage roughly 250 others.

According to the U.S. Maritime Administration, the Houthis have launched over 50 attacks on shipping since November, even going as far as seizing one vessel and sinking another. These attacks have significantly reduced shipping traffic through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in recent weeks.

American officials speculate that the Houthi rebels might be running low on weaponry due to the ongoing U.S.-led airstrike campaign targeting them in Yemen. This speculation stems from the Houthis’ consistent use of drones and missiles over the past few months. However, the recent attack demonstrates a concerning renewal of their offensive actions.

Just days before the container ship incident, the Houthis claimed they had successfully shot down a U.S. military MQ-9 Reaper drone. They even released footage that appeared to show parts consistent with the unmanned aerial vehicle. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed a crash of a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 drone in Yemen on Saturday. An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the crash.

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