US denies Yemen’s Houthis’ claim of attack on US military cargo ship in Gulf of Aden

The US-owned ship Genco Picardy, which came under attack on January 17, 2024, from a bomb-carrying drone launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden, on January 18, 2024. (Indian Navy via AP, FIle)
The US-owned ship Genco Picardy, which came under attack on January 17, 2024, from a bomb-carrying drone launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden, on January 18, 2024. (Indian Navy via AP, FIle)

The US military denies claims made by the Yemeni Houthi movement that it had attacked American cargo ship Ocean Jazz in the Gulf of Aden.

“The Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists’ report of an alleged successful attack on M/V Ocean Jazz is patently false,” the US Naval Forces Central Command says in a statement. “NAVCENT has maintained constant communications with M/V Ocean Jazz throughout its safe transit.”

The Houthi movement earlier in the day said its forces launched a missile attack on Ocean Jazz in the Gulf of Aden. It did not say when or precisely where the attack took place or whether any damage resulted from it.

“The Yemeni armed forces continue to retaliate to any American or British aggression against our country by targeting all sources of threat in the Red and Arab Sea,” Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea says in a statement.

US and British forces have launched strikes across Yemen, against Houthi forces, in recent weeks, in response to months of Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping that the Iran-backed fighters cast as a response to the war in Gaza.

The Houthis, who initially said they were only targeting vessels linked to Israel, said they would also attack US vessels after the strikes.

British maritime security firm Ambrey says the vessel named by the Houthi had been contracted by the US military.

Houthi attacks on ships in and around the Red Sea have slowed trade between Asia and Europe and alarmed world powers about the possibility of an escalation in the war in Gaza.

The Houthis, who control most of Yemen, say their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians, after Hamas launched its October 7 terror onslaught in Israel.

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