NewsIran-backed Houthi rebels escalate maritime violence, U.S. responds

Iran-backed Houthi rebels escalate maritime violence, U.S. responds

Iran-backed Houthi rebels escalate maritime violence, U.S. responds
Images source: © GETTY | Bloomberg
11:07 AM EST, March 7, 2024
CNN reported that the Houthi launched ballistic missiles at the ship, killing three individuals and wounding at least six. The "True Confidence" crew evacuated, while coalition forces opposing the Yemeni rebels—comprising Western countries like the USA, France, and Germany—are assessing the situation.

"We are constantly surprised," a U.S. Department of Security official commented regarding the Yemeni rebels. "We just have no idea what they (Houthi) might still possess," he elaborated, as the American broadcaster CNN quoted.

"We just have no idea what they (Houthi) might still possess," he added.

USA's reaction

The White House has responded to the recent attack. Despite Houthi claims that the targeted ship was sailing under the American flag, "Bloomberg" reported White House Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre disputing these claims. She clarified that "True Confidence" was in fact a Liberian ship flying Barbados' flag. - It was not an American ship, contrary to the Houthi's claims, she emphasized.
"These attacks not only breach international trade norms but also result in the loss of lives of individuals simply doing their jobs," Karine Jean-Pierre remarked.

She urged all governments to collaborate with the USA to halt "these horrifying attacks."

Houthi attacks on the Red Sea: What's behind them?

Since November 2023, Yemeni Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, have frequently targeted ships in the waters around Yemen, particularly in the Red Sea.

In the early months of 2024, several serious incidents took place. For instance, in February, off the coast of Yemen, the Houthi rebels attacked a freighter under the Belize flag registered in the UK. The ship experienced an explosion nearby, but the crew evacuated safely.

By the end of February, two rockets fired by the rebels damaged a British merchant vessel, causing minor injuries to one individual.

In March, following an attack in the Gulf of Aden, the vessel Rubymar sank, taking down with it 46,000 pounds of artificial fertilizers, now posing a threat to the environment. The Rubymar had already been targeted by a Houthi missile in February, leading to a 25-mile-long oil spill in the Red Sea.

The Houthi justify their attacks by claiming solidarity with the Palestinian group Hamas and its conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip.
Nevertheless, their targets often have no ties to Israel. To avoid risks, ships are now bypassing the shortest route from Asia to Europe via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, opting for a lengthier detour around Africa—increasing the journey by 3,728 miles. This change adversely affects logistics and supply chains.
In reaction to these perilous attacks on maritime transport, American and British forces began striking Houthi targets in Yemen on January 12.

Since the attacks commenced, over 45 missiles have been launched by the Houthi at ships navigating through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Although coalition forces intercepted many, some struck their targets, causing damage to the vessels.

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