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Houthi Rebels Down US Drone, Target UK Ship With Naval Missiles

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The attacks by Houthis have only disrupted global trade (Representational)

Sana’a:

Yemen’s Houthis have struck again, with reports emerging of an oil tanker damaged and a US drone shot down amid escalating tensions over Israel’s offensive in Gaza, Al Jazeera reported.

In his latest televised address, the Houthis’ military spokesman, Yahya Saree, claimed responsibility for targeting the “British oil ship Andromeda Star” in the Red Sea with naval missiles. The vessel sustained minor damage, according to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), but is continuing its journey unimpeded.

There were no injuries reported among the maritime military coalition deployed in the area to counter such attacks.

Saree also announced the downing of a MQ-9 Reaper drone operated by the US military, stating it was shot down while conducting hostile missions in the airspace of Yemen’s Saada governorate. The US military has yet to comment on the incident, but CBS News confirmed the crash of an MQ-9 inside Yemen, sparking an ongoing investigation, according to Al Jazeera.

This marks the third US drone shot down by the Houthis since the outset of the conflict in Gaza, with previous incidents occurring in November and February. Despite this, the Houthis have remained silent on further attacks against vessels in nearby waters, although the US military reported anti-ship missiles being fired at the MV MAISH, a vessel flying the Antigua/Barbados flag.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) confirmed two attacks on a vessel, likely the MV Andromeda Star, near al-Mukha (Mocha) in Yemen. The first explosion occurred in close proximity to the vessel, followed by a second attack involving two missiles, resulting in damage.

The Houthi military’s recent activity follows their claim of targeting the “Israeli ship MSC Darwin” in the Gulf of Aden and launching missiles and drones at targets in Israel’s southern port city of Eilat. Prior to this, they had attacked the US-flagged Maersk Yorktown and the Israeli-linked MSC Veracruz, prompting defence responses from US and UK warships.

Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, the group’s leader, dismissed suggestions of diminished military capabilities, asserting that more attacks are imminent. Addressing demonstrators in Sanaa and beyond, he declared a new theater of confrontation, targeting ships in the Indian Ocean as well, as reported by Al Jazeera.

The Houthis have vowed to cease their attacks on one of the world’s busiest maritime routes if Israel halts its offensive in Gaza. These attacks have not only disrupted global trade but also impacted traffic at Israel’s Eilat port.

In Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, large-scale protests have been a weekly occurrence since the conflict began, expressing solidarity with Palestinians and condemning Israel and its allies. Initially focused on Israeli-linked ships in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, the Houthis have since broadened their targets to include US and UK vessels following military actions by Washington and London in Yemen.

Houthi-run media reported millions more joining demonstrations across Yemen, highlighting the widespread support for their cause, Al Jazeera reported.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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