Houthis claim attack on merchant ship in Red Sea

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Yemen’s Houthis have claimed an attack on a merchant ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen.

A Houthi spokesman said the group attacked a Liberian-flagged vessel called Tutor using a naval drone.

The Royal Navy’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office said on Wednesday it had received reports of a ship struck in the stern about 66 nautical miles south-west of the rebel-held port of Hodeida in Yemen.

The ship was taking on water and was not commanded by the crew, UKMTO reported. No casualties have been reported.

It added that the ship was hit a second time “by an unknown aerial projectile” and that military authorities were assisting.

In a statement, a Houthi military spokesman said the ship was attacked “using an unmanned surface boat, a number of drones and ballistic missiles,” adding that the ship was “severely damaged, vulnerable to sinking.”

The ship was targeted “because the company that owns the ship violated the decision to ban access to the ports of occupied Palestine,” the statement said.

Reuters news agency reports that the ship was a Greek-owned cargo ship.

Maritime security company Ambrey “assessed the ship in line with the (Houthi) target profile at the time of the incident,” said a statement quoted by AFP news agency.

The armed Houthi group sees itself as part of an Iranian-led “axis of resistance” against Israel, the US and the wider West, and has expressed support for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Since November, the rebel group has carried out attacks on ships they say are linked to Israel in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, saying their actions support the Palestinians.

The US and Britain have launched a series of attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen in response, prompting the Houthis to retaliate against ships they believe are linked to those countries.

The rebel attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea prompted many shipping companies to stop using the waterway, through which about 12% of global seaborne trade passes.

Individual, The UN has said Houthis in Yemen have detained two more of their workersbringing the total number of staff seized by the group in the past week to 13.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said one of its staff was among those arrested. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X that he was “deeply concerned” about the situation.

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