- Houthi spokesman said strike was ‘a victory for oppressed Palestinian people’
Houthi rebels last night claimed to have hit yet another US commercial vessel in a fresh missile strike in the Red Sea as US forces launched strikes on drones and ground control stations in Yemen.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen Yahya Saree claimed the US was unable to prevent one of his missiles from striking the Koi, a Liberian-flagged shipping vessel.
Saree declared the strike ‘a victory for the oppressed Palestinian people and a response to the American-British aggression against our country’.
It comes just days after the Marlin Luanda, an oil tanker from the same company, was set ablaze by a Houthi rebel missile at the weekend.
Shocking images showed an inferno raging on the tanker’s deck that took hours to extinguish.
Meanwhile, American forces early this morning carried out strikes in Yemen against 10 attack drones and a ground control station controlled by Houthi rebels, the US military declared.
Early on Thursday local time, US forces targeted a ‘Houthi UAV ground control station and 10 Houthi one-way UAVs’ that ‘presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region,’ US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.
That came hours after its USS Carney warship also shot down an anti-ship missile fired by the Houthis and downed three Iranian drones – a move which could heighten tensions between the US and Iran which have so far sought to avoid a direct conflict in the region.
Houthi fighters lift rifles, Yemen and Palestine flags, and Houthi emblems march during a weaponised rally and parade against the America-Britain airstrikes and in solidarity with people in the Gaza Strip, on January 28, 2024
Protesters shout slogans while holding a Palestinian flag and placards reading ‘Boycott US and Israeli goods’ and ‘Allah is the greatest of all, death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews, victory to Islam’ during a rally in support of the Palestinian people, in Sana’a, Yemen, 31 January 2024
Smoke rises from Marlin Luanda, merchant vessel, after the vessel was struck by a Houthi anti-ship missile, at the location given as Gulf of Aden, in this handout picture released January 27, 2024
Attack on the oil tanker Marlin Luanda in the Gulf of Aden. The FREMM-DA Alsace , with the USS Carney & INS Visakhapatnam, assisted the tanker and its crew hit by a Houthi missile
The reported strike on the Koi comes just days afte rthe Marlin Luanda, an oil tanker from the same company, was set ablaze by a Houthi rebel missile at the weekend
Private security firm Ambrey reported Wednesday night that a ship was indeed targeted with a missile near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, though didn’t specify its name.
The Koi’s managers could not be immediately reached for comment and it was unclear if the reported missile attack caused any damage or injuries.
Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea over Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
But they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade between Asia, the Mideast and Europe.
In retort, US and UK forces launched multiple rounds of airstrikes targeting the Houthis as allied warships patrol the waterways affected by the attacks.
In addition to military action, Washington has sought to put diplomatic and financial pressure on the Houthis, redesignating them as a terrorist organization earlier in January after previously having dropped that label soon after President Joe Biden took office.
But the Houthis have since declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.
Now, the conflict in the region appears to be ramping up, with the UK reportedly poised to send £3.5billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Red Sea this week after Iran-backed Houthis vowed to disrupt shipping ‘for the long-term’.
Britain is ‘poised to send £4billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (pictured) to the Red Sea’ this week after Iran-backed Houthis vowed to disrupt shipping ‘for the long-term’
British troops in the Middle East are ‘on high alert’ for Iranian attacks as the US plots revenge for the killing of three American soldiers. Pictured: Houthi rebels in Yemen
The UK has already engaged in a series of airstrikes on Houthi targets in cooperation with the US
The Mail has been told Admiral Sir Tony Radakin urged politicians to deploy an aircraft carrier to the region when the crisis began in October. But the Chief of the Defence Staff was overruled as ministers opted to send Cyprus-based RAF Typhoons on 3,000-mile trips.
Now British troops in the region are said to be on alert in the event of Iranian counter-strikes as Washington prepares to respond to the killing of three US soldiers by Tehran-backed militants.
The United States on Wednesday attributed the drone attack that killed three U.S. service members in Jordan to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias.
Iran threatened to ‘decisively respond’ to any attack on the Islamic Republic after the US said it held Tehran responsible.
The US has signalled it is preparing for retaliatory strikes in the Mideast in the wake of the Sunday drone attack that also wounded more than 40 troops at Tower 22, a secretive base in northeastern Jordan that’s been crucial to the American presence in neighbouring Syria.
As of Wednesday, Iran-aligned militias had launched 166 attacks on US military installations since October 18.
These include 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria and the one in Jordan, according to the US military.
It comes after the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist group (pictured carrying weapons on vehicles at a parade against American-British airstrikes) said it would intensify ‘self-defence’ attacks on any US and British warships deployed in the Red Sea
The rebels, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have been attacking ships in and around the Red Sea, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war
The US has struck back at the militias a few times over the past three months.
But any additional American strikes could further inflame a region already roiled by Israel’s ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The war began with Hamas attacking Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage.
Since then, Israeli strikes have killed more than 26,000 Palestinians and displaced nearly 2 million others from their homes, arousing anger throughout the Muslim world.
Violence has erupted across the Mideast, with Iran striking targets in Iraq, Pakistan and Syria, and the US carrying out airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels over their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.
Some observers fear a new round of strikes targeting Iran could tip the region into a wider war.