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US says Houthis targeted Gulf of Aden with four drones and missiles

The Houthis showcase their arsenal of missiles at a military parade marking the ninth anniversary of their takeover of Sanaa, Sept. 21, 2023. (Reuters)
The Houthis showcase their arsenal of missiles at a military parade marking the ninth anniversary of their takeover of Sanaa, Sept. 21, 2023. (Reuters)
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09 May 2024 12:05:57 GMT9
09 May 2024 12:05:57 GMT9
  • The Yemeni militia launched 3 drones on Monday and an anti-ship ballistic missile on Tuesday; no ships were hit
  • Meanwhile, journalism organizations call on the Houthis to investigate attempted assassination of a Yemeni journalist on Tuesday

Saeed Al-Batati

AL-MUKALLA: The US Central Command said the Houthi militia in Yemen launched three drones and one anti-ship ballistic missile at international commercial and naval ships in the Gulf of Aden on Monday and Tuesday.

The group launched three unmanned aerial vehicles from Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden on Monday. One of the drones was destroyed by US-led marine coalition ships, Central Command forces destroyed another, and the third went down in the sea, causing no damage, the US military said.

Early on Tuesday, the Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile over the Gulf of Aden, but did not target navy or commercial ships in key maritime lanes near Yemen.

“It was determined that these weapons presented an imminent threat to both coalition forces and merchant vessels in the region,” the US Central Command said.

UK Maritime Trade Operations, which monitors attacks on vessels, received a report from a ship’s master on Tuesday of two explosions close to the vessel off the coast of Yemen, near the southern city of Aden.

Yahya Sarea, a Houthi military spokesman who regularly confirms assaults on ships, has not claimed responsibility on behalf of the militia for any strikes since Friday.

In the past six months, the Houthis have sunk one ship, seized another and launched hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and remotely controlled boats targeting international commercial and navy ships in waters off the coast of Yemen and in the Indian Ocean. The Houthis say their aim is to put pressure on Israel to end its war against Hamas in Gaza.

The US responded in January to the Houthi attacks by placing the group back onto its list of foreign terrorist organizations, from which it had been removed in February 2021, organizing a coalition of naval task forces to safeguard the Red Sea, and launching strikes against Houthi sites in Yemen.

Mahdi Al-Mashat, head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, said during a live-fire drill in Sanaa on Tuesday that the US had offered incentives to the group in return for halting their attacks on shipping. However, he vowed attacks on ships linked to Israel would continues, along with efforts to seize control of the parts of Yemen that remain under government control.

“We will continue … until our country’s whole national territory is liberated, and the blockade and injustice placed on our people in Gaza are removed,” he said.

Meanwhile, local and international journalism organizations urged the Houthis to investigate the attempted assassination of a Yemeni journalist in Sanaa on Tuesday.

The Yemeni Journalist Syndicate said that Mohammed Shubaita, secretary-general of the organization and assistant secretary-general of the Federation of Arab Journalists, was shot in the leg and stomach and is being treated at a hospital in Sanaa. A relative who was with him was killed in the attack and another was wounded.

“The Journalists Syndicate strongly condemns this sinful attack and holds the de facto authority in Sanaa fully responsible for the safety of our colleague Mohammed Shubaita,” the organization said.

The International Federation of Journalists similarly denounced the assault and urged the Houthis to investigate the incident.

Anthony Bellanger, the federation’s general secretary, said: “The authorities must immediately open an investigation to clarify the circumstances of the heinous attack against our colleague Mohammed Shubaita and his relatives.

“Yemen is a hostile country for journalists where their safety is jeopardized, and the investigation must take into account Shubaita’s role as a journalist and union leader.”

In a message posted on social media platform X, Reporters Without Borders condemned the attack and called for a “full investigation into this heinous crime.”

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