DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (369NEWS) — During the hours-long attack, three commercial ships were damaged in the Red Sea by ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. In self-defense, a U.S. destroyer shot down three drones, according to the U.S. Navy. The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, claimed responsibility for two of the strikes.
A single Houthi attack targeted multiple ships for the first time in the fight, escalating a string of maritime attacks in the Mideast related to the Israel-Hamas battle. In reaction to the strike, the United States threatened to “consider all appropriate responses,” naming Iran by name. Tensions between the two countries have been high for years because of Iran’s fast nuclear development.
“These attacks pose a serious risk to international commerce and maritime security,” stated the U.S. military’s Central Command. These attacks have put the lives of foreign crews from all over the globe in danger.
Furthermore, the report stated that there is strong evidence indicating that Iran fully enables these attacks, despite being launched by the Houthis in Yemen.
- Marine assaults in the Middle East related to the Israel-Hamas conflict have been occurring frequently, and this strike might be the most significant one yet.
- The British military reported an explosion off the Yemeni coast in the strategically important Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
- U.S. military officials said last week that a US Navy cruiser intercepted and neutralized a drone coming from Yemen as it sailed near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
- What was believed to be an Iranian drone attacked a container ship belonging to an Israeli millionaire in the Indian Ocean.
Israel-Hamas War today:
- The area around Khan Youni, Gaza’s second-largest city, has been subject to further evacuation orders issued by Israel. The besieged enclave separating Israel and Egypt is known as the Gaza Strip, and Palestinians living there have said they are running out of places to flee.
Central Command reported that the strike began at approximately 9:15 a.m. local time (0615 GMT) in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, which is under Houthi control.
The Navy destroyer USS Carney intercepted a ballistic missile launched from Yemeni territory held by the Houthis and targeted the Unity Explorer, a bulk carrier flying the flag of the Bahamas. The US says the missile struck close to the ship. Central Command stated that the Carney fired down a drone that was heading in its direction shortly afterward, but it is unclear whether the warship was the intended target.
Almost half an hour afterward, a missile struck the Unity Explorer. In the midst of addressing its distress signal, the Carney neutralized an approaching drone. The Unity Explorer, according to Central Command, took minimal missile damage.
Missiles hit two other commercial ships, Sophie II and Number 9, both flown under Panamanian flags. The Sophie II and the Number 9 both suffered minor damage but escaped unharmed, according to Central Command.
At around 4:30 p.m. local time (1330 GMT), the Carney fired down another drone that was going in its route while sailing to aid the Sophie II. Drones were ineffective.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Carney intercepted several missiles fired into Israel by the Houthis during Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. No injuries have been reported on board, and the Carney has not been damaged in any of the events. The Defense Department first characterized the action as an assault on the Carney before providing more facts.
On Sunday, in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, two vessels came under attack, according to Brigadier General Yahya Saree, a spokesperson for the Houthi military. Saree said that a missile struck one vessel and a drone damaged the other. Saree did not mention any involvement of a U.S. vessel.
“Until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops,” Saree said, adding that the Yemeni armed forces will not let Israeli ships pass through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. “If any Israeli ship or Israeli-affiliated entity violates the terms of this statement, the Yemeni armed forces will once again make them a legitimate target.”
The Unity Explorer, which Saree is also named, is owned by a British company that counts Dan David Ungar, an Israeli, among its officials. Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement is associated with the number 9. Japanese firm Kyowa Kisen Co. Ltd. was previously associated with the Sophie II; however, the firm denied any involvement with the ship on Monday. At this time, it was not possible to contact the management of the three ships for comment.
Abraham “Rami” Ungar is a shipping magnate in Israel, and according to Israeli media, Ungar is his son.
Nobody from Iran has spoken out about the assaults yet. “If the current situation continues, the region will enter a new phase” about the Israel-Hamas battle, said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.
“Everyone who is interested in starting a war should listen up. A new round of killing women and children has begun, and you better stop it before it’s too late,” Amirabdollahian said.
Tehran uses the term “resistance forces” to refer to the Shiite militias it supports, including those in Iraq, Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as the Sunni militants affiliated with Hamas, with whom the senior Iranian ambassador claimed to have had discussions. In the midst of the conflict, all of them have either threatened or attacked Israel, the regional competitor of Iran.
Aside from sending missiles and drones at Israel, the Houthis have attacked ships in the Red Sea many times. The Houthis have been at odds with Saudi-backed troops in Yemen’s civil war for years, and analysts believe they are hoping to regain public support.
The United States has avoided addressing whether its Navy ships were specifically targeted and instead stated that they intercepted drones belonging to the Houthi group in self-defense. So far, neither Israel nor Washington have responded directly to the strikes; the Israeli military is still trying to dispel any notion that the ships in question are associated with Israel.
As the Israel-Hamas conflict escalates and threatens to spill over into a larger regional conflict, global shipping has been a growing target, despite a temporary truce and the exchange of hostages for Palestinian detainees held by Israel. More naval operations were a real possibility when the ceasefire broke down and Israel resumed its devastating bombardment of Gaza in addition to a land offensive in the territory.
While in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen in November, the Houthis captured a vehicle transport vessel that was also associated with Israel. Near Hodeida, a port city, the rebels still control the ship. Another U.S. warship last week also experienced missiles landing near it after assisting a vessel linked to Israel that had been briefly captured by gunmen. Meanwhile, an Iranian drone is believed to have attacked an Israeli billionaire’s cargo ship in the Indian Ocean.
The stakes in the intensifying maritime confrontation were already high before the Houthis began explicitly targeting the Americans. As a form of retaliation for missiles fired at U.S. Navy ships in 2016, the United States used Tomahawk cruise missiles to target three coastal radar installations in Houthi-controlled territory.