‘Explosion’ hits key shipping route and drones spotted off coast of Yemen weeks after attacks by Iran-backed militia

‘Explosion’ hits key shipping route and drones spotted off coast of Yemen weeks after attacks by Iran-backed militia

A potential explosion is believed to have struck a crucial shipping route off the coast of Yemen, the British Military has claimed.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) also informed that drone activity has been reported in the area.

An ‘explosion’ hit a key shipping route and drones were also spotted off the Yemen coast

GettyThe area has been known as the backdrop to many attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militants[/caption]

Shipping tankers have increasingly become hijacking targets in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait

Shippers were warned by the UKMTO that the apparent blast took place in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that separates East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula, Sky News reports.

The Bab el-Mandeb links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

The region has been stage to a series of attacks in recent weeks attributed to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The militia group have also launched missiles and drones toward Israel over its war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the latest incident.  

It comes after a tanker owned by an Israeli billionaire was reportedly hijacked off the coast of Yemen with 22 crew members on board.

The Houthi, who had previously targeted another Israeli-owned ship days earlier, apparently threatened to attack the vessel.

The US navy has reportedly engaged in the area as other ships have been warned to avoid the surrounding waters after the Central Park was seized.

It is not completely clear yet who was behind the attack in the Aden Gulf, although according to reports Iran-backed Houthi rebels did threaten the ship if it did not divert to the Hodeida port.

And the company who manage the ship described it as “a suspected piracy incident”, according to WNKY.

UK military issued a warning to sailors nearby that “two black-and-white craft carrying eight persons in military-style clothing”, had been spotted in the area.

The surrounding waters are controlled by Yemen’s government which has battled Iran-backed Houthi rebels for years.

Just days earlier, another Israeli-owned cargo ship was hijacked by the Iran-backed militia in the Red Sea.

Chilling footage showed a chopper landing on the cargo carrier before several gunmen made their mad dash on board.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations put the November 19 hijacking as having occurred some 90 miles off the coast of Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, near the coast of Eritrea.

The Houthi militants stormed the desk and held the international crew of 25 at gunpoint during the brutal attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the capture of the cargo as “terrorism”.

The Houthis – based in Yemen – previously vowed to target all ships owned by Israel or flying their flag in the Red Sea.

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