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Yemen's Houthis claim attack on UK vessel in Gulf of Aden

By AFP - Feb 19,2024 - Last updated at Feb 19,2024

Yemenis lift placards and wave Palestinian flags as they march in the Houthi-run capital Sanaa on Fridayin support of Palestinians (AFP photo)

SANAA — Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels said Monday they struck a British ship in the Gulf of Aden, after a maritime security firm reported overnight an attack on a UK-registered ship.

The group targeted "a British ship in the Gulf of Aden, "RUBYMAR", with a number of appropriate naval missiles," the Huthis' military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement.

He added that the vessel is "now at risk of potential sinking in the Gulf of Aden" after receiving "extensive damage" during the attack.

Maritime security firm Ambrey meanwhile reported an attack on a "Belize-flagged, UK-registered and Lebanese-operated open hatch general cargo ship" in the Bab Al Mandeb strait, a waterway connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.

It said the vessel was headed north from the United Arab Emirates heading to a final destination in the Bulgarian port city of Varna.

A British maritime security agency said a ship 35 nautical miles from Yemen's port of Mokha reported "an explosion in close proximity to the vessel resulting in damage".

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations confirmed later that the crew were safe after evacuating the vessel.

The Houthis said they "made sure that the ship's crew exited safely".

The rebels, who control much of war-torn Yemen, have been targeting Red Sea shipping for months in protest against the Hamas-Israel war.

Their attacks have triggered reprisals by US and British forces, the latest of which was on Sunday.

Ambrey also said they had seen reports that the ship's crew "were rescued by another merchant vessel", adding that the movement of a Singaporean-flagged container ship was consistent with this.

It also noted a drift pattern in recent days "consistent with engine failure".

"It was unconfirmed at the time of writing what halted the vessel," it added.

The Houthis also said they shot down a US MQ9 aircraft, a claim Washington has yet to address.


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