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Ship ablaze after missile attack in Gulf of Aden – UK Navy

The incident followed ‘self-defense strikes’ by the US targeting Houthi missiles and a launcher prepared to fire toward the Red Sea

A vessel caught fire after being hit by two missiles southeast of the Yemeni port of Aden on Thursday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) has said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It comes as Houthi militants have escalated attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The militants who control large parts of Yemen have been targeting merchant ships in response to Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which started in October. The United States and the UK have formed an international coalition to protect navigation in the area.

Thursday’s incident took place 70 nautical miles from Aden, and the coalition forces are responding, according to the UKMTO, which is a monitoring service operated by the British Navy. An investigation is underway, it added. There has been no official information so far on the type of the vessel that was struck, damage, or casualties.

According to the Associated Press, ship-tracking data helped identify the vessel as a Palau-flagged cargo ship named Islander that had been coming from Thailand bound for Egypt.

Earlier this week, the Houthis claimed to have targeted an Israeli cargo vessel, a number of US warships, and a British vessel in an incident described as “catastrophic,” causing the crew to abandon ship.

The US Central Command said it had conducted “self-defense strikes” against Houthi missiles and a launcher that was prepared to fire from Yemen toward the Red Sea on Wednesday. According to CENTCOM, the weapons “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the US Navy ships in the region.”

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophic’ Houthi attack damages British ship

After Israel launched its military operation against Hamas in Gaza in October, Houthi militants started to attack ships they believed to be linked to Israel, claiming they were acting in “solidarity” with Palestine.

However, after the US and the UK conducted a number of strikes on Houthi facilities in Yemen, the group said it would now also attack ships affiliated with either nation.

February 22, 2024 at 08:06PM

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