Houthis claim to have fired rockets and drones at Israeli, US, and British ships

Vessels which terror group claims are Israeli appear to be Panamanian according to tracking sites; no casualties reported; CENTCOM says it destroyed a missile system in Yemen

Houthi supporters protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Sanaa, Yemen, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/ Osamah Abdulrahman)
Houthi supporters protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Sanaa, Yemen, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/ Osamah Abdulrahman)

Houthi forces in Yemen claimed on Sunday to have launched rockets and drones at British, US, and Israeli ships, the latest in a campaign of attacks on shipping in support of Palestinians in the ongoing Gaza war.

The Iranian proxy said it had targeted a British ship and a number of US frigates in the Red Sea, while in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, it attacked two Israeli vessels heading to Israeli ports.

The latest attacks come after a lull of several days in Houthi aggressions, which have disrupted traffic along the vital Red Sea global trade route.

The operations took place during the last 72 hours, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said in a televised statement.

According to Saree, the attacks included a missile strike against a “British ship (Hope Island) in the Red Sea.” Vessel tracking websites listed the Hope Island as traveling under a Marshall Islands flag and said it was in the Red Sea as of Friday.

Missiles also targeted what Saree described as two Israeli ships, MSC Grace F and MSC Gina. Two tracking sites listed a vessel named MSC Grace F which they said sails under the Panamanian flag. Marinetraffic.com also listed MSC Gina as Panamanian-flagged and said it was last reported in the Gulf.

Members of the Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Iran-backed Houthi group patrol the sea as demonstrators march through the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, in solidarity with the people of Gaza on January 4, 2024. (AFP)

Earlier, British security firm Ambrey said it had received information indicating that a vessel was attacked on Sunday in the Gulf of Aden about 102 nautical miles southwest of Mukalla in Yemen.

“Vessels in the vicinity were advised to exercise caution and report any suspicious activity,” the firm said. It did not say who was responsible for the attack or give further details.

Separately, a missile landed near a vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, but there was no damage to the ship or injuries to crew in the incident, 59 nautical miles southwest of the Yemeni port of Aden, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations agency said.

“The Master of the vessel reports a missile impacted the water in close proximity to the vessel’s port quarter,” UKMTO said in an advisory note. “No damage to the vessel reported and crew reported safe,” it added.

It did not say who fired the missile or give further details. It was not immediately clear if the attacks reported by the British agencies were the same as the latest incidents claimed by the Houthis.

Sunday’s attacks came hours after two missiles targeted a ship southwest of the Yemeni Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, according to both UKMTO and Ambrey.

One missile was intercepted by US-led coalition forces and the second missed the ship, according to UKMTO.

Also Sunday, US forces destroyed a mobile surface-to air missile system in a Houthi-controlled territory of Yemen, the US Central Command said.

US forces also shot down one unmanned aerial vehicle over the Red Sea, its statement said, adding that a coalition vessel also detected, engaged and destroyed one inbound anti-ship missile. No injuries or damage were reported.

The weekend attacks came as Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with senior Houthi official Mohamed Abdelsalam in Oman on Sunday.

Amir-Abdollahian praised the “brave support of the Yemeni nation for the oppressed Palestinian nation,” according to Iran’s foreign ministry.

The United States, which leads a multinational flotilla intended to protect Red Sea shipping, has since mid-January launched repeated attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen. British warplanes have also taken part in several of the strikes.

In a televised speech on Thursday, Houthi chief Abdul Malik al-Houthi said 37 people had been killed in more than 400 strikes by US and British forces on Yemen since January.

.”During these operations and attacks, 37 martyrs died and 30 others were wounded,” he said, without specifying if the casualties were civilians or combatants.

The terror organization’s leader vowed to continue strikes on Red Sea shipping, saying his fighters had launched 34 attacks over the past month.

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