U.S. ship comes under Houthi attack near Yemen; U.S. military shoots down 2 missiles

U.S. ship comes under Houthi attack near Yemen; U.S. military shoots down 2 missiles

View of the damage caused by a drone attack on Jan. 17 to the U.S.-owned Marshall Island flagged M/V Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden. On Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command said another U.S-owned ship came under Houthi attack in the same region, though no damage was caused. File Photo via Indian Navy/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 25 (UPI) — Less than a day after the United States launched its ninth attack against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Iran-backed militants attacked another U.S.-owned ship transiting the Gulf of Aden.

U.S. Central Command said the Houthis at about 2 p.m. local time Wednesday fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles from areas of the war-torn country that it controls at the M/V Maersk Detroit, one of which hit the ocean. The other two missiles were intercepted by the Arleigh Burke-class USS Gravely guided missile destroyer, it said.

“There were no reported injuries or damage to the ship,” it said in a statement.

The Maersk Detroit is a container vessel operated by Maersk Line, a U.S. subsidiary of Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, which confirmed the attack to UPI in an emailed statement that said it will suspend transit through the region until further notice.

The company told UPI that Maersk Detroit and M/V Maersk Chesapeake, a second U.S.-flagged ship it operates, were being accompanied Wednesday by the U.S. Navy through the Bab el-Mandeb strait between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa when both ships reported explosions.

“The crew, ship and cargo are safe and unharmed,” it said, adding that the U.S. Navy intercepted multiple projectiles.

The Houthis claim, however, that it achieved “a direct hit” on an unspecified U.S. vessel during the two hours of clashes it said it was engaged with the U.S. military.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti said in a statement that several of their ballistic missiles found their targets without providing proof.

The Houthis have been attacking commercial vessels transiting the all-important trade route of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in response to the war Israel has been waging against Hamas, another Iran proxy militia, since Oct. 7.

It had initially stated its targets would be Israel-bound ships, but it has since broaden its scope. Two previous U.S.-owned commercial vessels have been recently attacked — the M/V Genco Picardy on Jan. 17, which suffered damage, and the M/V Chem Ranger the next day but was unscathed.

Less than 12 hours before Maersk came under attack, the United States at about 2:30 a.m. struck two Houthi missiles CENTCOM said were prepared to launch. It was the United States’ ninth attack on the Houthis in two weeks.

The Biden administration says it is attacking Houthi sites and materials to degrade its ability to fire on commercial ships and that it is seeking de-escalation and does not want to expand the conflict in the Middle East.

Al-Bukhaiti described its attacks Wednesday as “a blockade on Israeli navigation in the Red and Arabian seas” that will persist “until a cease-fire is achieved in Gaza.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm that they will take all necessary military procedure within the legitimate right of defense of our country, our people and our nation, by targeting all hostile American and British targets in the Red and Arab seas,” he said.

U.S. officials have said the Houthis have attacked more than 30 ships since Nov. 19 and that at least 14 shipping companies have ceased using the trade route, which accounts for between 10% and 15% of global trade, in response.

Maj. Gen. Pay Ryder told reporters on Tuesday that the U.S.-led retaliatory attacks have degraded more than 25 missile launch and deployment facilities and more than 20 missiles have been destroyed. They have also hit unmanned drones and vehicles as well as coastal radar and air surveillance capabilities and weapons storage, he said.  » …
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