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Houthi Missile Attack Claims Lives in First Fatal Assault on Shipping

Houthi Missile Attack Claims Lives in Gulf of Aden

UN Condemns Houthi Attacks on Foreign Vessels

According to New England Public Media, on Wednesday, a missile attack by Houthi rebels from Yemen targeted a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden killing three crew members. The survivors were forced to flee the vessel. This attack linked to Iran’s support of the Houthi group is the first fatal strike in a series of assaults launched by the group in response to Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. The attack on the True Confidence, a Barbados-registered and Liberian-owned bulk carrier intensifies the conflict in a crucial maritime route connecting Asia, the Middle East, and Europe causing disruptions to global shipping. The Houthi attack have continued since November despite the US airstrikes that commenced in January.

The U.S. Central Command reported that a missile fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen hit the True Confidence causing severe damage. Three people were killed, four were injured, and three are critically wounded. Prior to the attack, officials indicated that individuals claiming to represent the Yemeni military had contacted the ship via radio. Since launching their attacks, the Houthis have been using radio communication to contact ships in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. Analysts suspect that the rebels aim to hijack the vessels.

Following a missile strike, the crew evacuated the vessel and boarded lifeboats. Both a U.S. warship and the Indian navy dispatched assistance to aid in rescue operations. The exact number of crew members present at the time remains uncertain. The United Nations has strongly condemned the ongoing Houthi missile attack on foreign vessels in the Red Sea. U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric voiced deep concern over the recurring incidents particularly given the lack of information about the crew’s well-being.

The rebels have targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters amid the Israel-Hamas war but hadn’t killed crew members until Wednesday. These vessels included at least one carrying cargo bound for Iran, the Houthis’ main supporter and an aid ship intended for Houthi-controlled territory.

(PHOTO: Houthi Missile Attack Claims Lives in First Fatal Assault on Shipping)

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Ongoing Conflict and Seizures Heighten Regional Tensions

Despite ongoing U.S.-led airstrikes, Houthi rebels have maintained their ability to launch significant attacks including targeting a cargo ship carrying fertilizer and downing an American drone. The reason for the recent Houthi missile attack on the True Confidence remains unclear. Separately, a Houthi assault on the USS Carney involved in the American campaign against the rebels was thwarted leading to subsequent U.S. airstrikes destroying anti-ship missiles and drone boats. The impact of the airstrikes on the Houthi forces remains undisclosed but the U.S. Treasury announced new sanctions targeting a Houthi financier and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Houthis continue to control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, amidst a prolonged conflict with a Saudi-led coalition. Additionally, the Indian navy released a video of its sailors combating a fire aboard a ship targeted by the Houthis in the Gulf of Aden with no reported injuries.

Iran announced the seizure of crude oil from the Advantage Sweet, alleging it violated U.S. sanctions by importing a Swedish medicine. Initially, Iran claimed the seizure was due to a collision but later cited sanctions violations. Tehran’s actions in previous seizures have been seen as attempts to use captures as bargaining tools amid regional tensions which escalated after the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

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