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19 Jan, 2024 06:53

Houthis claim new ‘direct hit’ on American ship

A chemical tanker was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait when it came under attack
Houthis claim new ‘direct hit’ on American ship

Houthi militants in Yemen have carried out a missile strike on the US-owned tanker Chem Ranger in the Gulf of Aden, the group’s spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree has claimed.

Less than a day after the latest series of US-led airstrikes on Yemen, the Houthis targeted yet another American ship with naval missiles, Saree said in a televised address on Thursday, claiming the attack resulted in “direct hits.”

“The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm that a retaliation to the American and British attacks is inevitable, and that any new aggression will not go unpunished,” he declared.

The US Central Command has confirmed the incident, but reported no injuries or damage to the vessel. The rebels “launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles at M/V Chem Ranger, a Marshall Island-flagged, US-owned, Greek-operated tanker ship,” CENTCOM posted on X (formerly Twitter), stating that the ship continued its journey after the “crew observed the missiles impact the water near the ship.”

The Yemeni militants have carried out dozens of drone and missile attacks in the region since the beginning of the war in Gaza, vowing to continue targeting Israeli-linked vessels until the blockade of Gaza is lifted, and the killing of Palestinians is stopped.

The increased risks faced by ships in the Red Sea have forced the world’s biggest freight firms to avoid the Suez Canal and sent insurance costs soaring. Instead of Suez – the quickest cargo route from Asia to Europe – many vessels are now diverting round the Cape of Good Hope, incurring higher expenses on fuel, maintenance and wages.

The US reacted by leading airstrikes on Yemen last Thursday, as part of the so-called Operation Prosperity Guardian – an international maritime coalition with the stated goal of protecting commercial shipping. While US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed the airstrikes had a “good effect,” a New York Times report a few days later alleged that the majority of Houthi military assets remained functional.

US President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the strikes have not stopped the Houthis, but said on Thursday that the bombing would continue.