Houthis strike cargo ship off Yemen coast & vow ‘MORE attacks are coming’ after US pounded rebels with airstrike at sea

Houthis strike cargo ship off Yemen coast & vow ‘MORE attacks are coming’ after US pounded rebels with airstrike at sea

HOUTHI rebels have attacked a cargo ship sailing off the Yemen coast and have vowed that “more attacks are coming”.

The Iran-backed group claimed responsibility for the attack as it has been leading a string of brazen attacks on ships in the Red Sea since November.

GettyA ship sailing off Yemen (not pictured) was hit by an unmanned aerial vehicle, UKMTO reported[/caption]

APYemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack[/caption]

The Yemeni Armed Forces confirmed on Wednesday that a response to the American and British attacks is inevitably coming, and that any new attack will not remain without response and punishment.

An official statement read: “The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a targeting operation against the American ship (Ginko Picardie) in the Gulf of Aden with a number of suitable naval missiles, and the hit was accurate and direct, thanks to God.

“The Yemeni armed forces will not hesitate to target all sources of threat in the Arab and Red Bahrain within the legitimate right to defend dear Yemen and to continue supporting the oppressed Palestinian people.”

The Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier was hit by an unmanned aerial vehicle southeast of Aden as it was heading east along the Gulf of Aden, according to maritime security firm Ambrey.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it received a report of an incident some 60 miles southeast of Yemen’s Ade – a day after the US pounded Iran-backed Houthi rebels with a fresh airstrike at sea.

“There was a fire onboard which has now been extinguished,” it added.

UKMTO also reported that the vessel and crew are safe and are proceeding to the next port of call.

Just yesterday, the US military pounded the Iran-backed rebels with a fresh airstrike on a stash of anti-ship ballistic missiles in Yemen.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the strike targeted four anti-ship missiles in a Houthi-controlled part of the country.

Since the UK and the US smashed dozens of military targets last week in Yemen, the furious rebel group has vowed “unimaginable” revenge.

And earlier on Tuesday, a missile fired from Yemen hit a Greek-owned cargo ship in the Red Sea.

The incident took place 100 nautical miles north west of Saleef, the UKMTO said.

The cargo hold of the Malta-flagged vessel was struck by the rocket, according to Ambrey.

The ship was moving northbound at the time of the attack – and managed to continue to a port.

No injuries were reported on board – but authorities are currently investigating the incident.

Vessels have been advised to transit through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden “with caution and report any suspicious activity”.

Tuesday’s attack comes after the Houthis hit a US-owned cargo ship with a three-rocket barrage on Monday.

The port side of the vessel was hit “from above” by one of the missiles – while the other two failed to reach the sea.

It came just hours after a US warship downed a cruise missile fired by the Houthi rebels.

According to Ambrey, the attack “targeted US interests in response to US military strikes on Houthi military positions in Yemen”.

Following the attack, Rishi Sunak said Britain would not “hesitate” to launch more strikes against the Iran-backed Houthis.

In a blunt warning to the Houthis, the PM said “the threats to shipping must cease” and “illegally detained vessels and crews must be released”.

“We remain prepared to back our words with actions,” he added.

The PM also told MPs all planned targets had been destroyed in the strikes with no reports of civilian casualties.

The possibility for Britain to conduct further strikes has also been raised by both the Defence Secretary and the Foreign Secretary.

Grant Shapps said the purpose of last week’s strikes were “not to go into Yemen or anything like that”, but to “send a very clear, I hope unambiguous message” for the Houthis to stop their assaults.

The Cabinet Minister added: “We will now watch and monitor the situation very carefully.

“As we’ve said — not just to the Houthis but to their Iranian masters, in a sense, because they are really proxies for Tehran — this cannot go on.

“International shipping … freedom of navigation is just a given and always has been for many, many years. We cannot have that situation where they are trying to harass it and we will keep a very close eye.

“If we have to take further action, that is something that we will consider.”

The Houthi attacks are a major blow to world trade — and threaten UK petrol prices as tensions explode in the Middle East and the Israel and Gaza conflict rages on.

Warlords with drones from Iran are terrorising vessels sailing to the crucial Suez Canal through a Red Sea straight.

About 12 per cent of global commercial shipping uses the route — and so far more than 2,000 vessels have been forced to divert thousands of miles.

Supertankers carrying fuel to Europe are steering clear of the area in a move that could see us paying more for petrol.

Brent Crude oil cost jumped four per cent after the US and UK retaliation strikes in Yemen.

It hit $80 (£62.83) per barrel for the first time this year.

Car giants Tesla and Volvo have been forced to suspend some production in Europe as they wait for delayed parts.

Who are the Houthis?

THE Houthi rebels are terrorising vessels in the Red Sea and now their bases were blitzed in US and UK strikes – but who are they?

The Shia militant group, which now controls most of Yemen, spent over a decade being largely ignored by the world.

However, since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war they sprung from relative obscurity to holding roughly £1trillion of world trade hostage – turning one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes into an active warzone.

Why are they attacking ships?

The rebel group has been launching relentless drone and missile attacks on any ships they deem to be connected with Israel in solidarity with their ally Hamas.

The sea assaults have threatened to ignite a full-blown war in the Middle East as ripples from Israel’s war in Gaza are felt across the region – with Iran suspected of stoking the chaos.

However, there have been frequent attacks on commercial vessels with little or no link to Israel – forcing global sea traffic to halt operations in the region and sending shipping prices soaring.

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea increased 50 per cent between November and December.

Their slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam”.

And the rebel group’s leaders have previously pledged the attacks will continue until Israel stops its devastating offensive inside Gaza.

On Thursday night, explosions rang out in Yemen and President Biden and PM Rishi Sunak struck over 60 Houthi targets.

AFPUSS Laboon shot down a cruise missile fired from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen[/caption]

UK MOD Crown copyrightAn RAF jet heading to Yemen last week after Iran-backed Houthi rebels launched attacks on cargo in the Red Sea[/caption]

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