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Yemen’s Houthi group says attacking 2 US ships in Gulf of Aden

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Sanaa: Yemen’s Houthi group announced Monday evening that they launched missile attacks against two U.S. ships in the Gulf of Aden, saying the hits were “accurate.”

In a televised statement aired by the group’s satellite TV channel al-Masirah, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the attacks against American ships, Sea Champion and Navis Fortuna, were “accurate and direct,” without specifying the damages or casualties.

According to Sarea, the attacks brought the total number of Houthi operations during the past 24 hours to four. The first targeted a British ship resulting in its complete sinking. The second shot down a U.S. MQ9 drone in the airspace of Hodeidah Governorate, while the last two attacks targeted two American ships.

“Our operations in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea will escalate and will not stop unless (Israeli) aggression (on Hamas) stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted,” the Houthi military spokesperson said in the statement.

Earlier in the day, Britain’s Maritime Trade Operations agency said the crew had safely departed the attacked Britain-registered vessel.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Central Command said in a brief statement posted on social media platform X that the British cargo vessel was hit by two ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in northern Yemen.

“Between 9:30 and 10:45 p.m., Feb. 18, two anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen toward MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned bulk carrier. One of the missiles struck the vessel, causing damage,” the U.S. Central Command said.

“The ship issued a distress call and a coalition warship along with another merchant vessel responded to the call to assist the crew of the MV Rubymar. The crew was transported to a nearby port by the merchant vessel,” the U.S. Central Command added.

Shortly before the Houthi forces’ televised statement, the Houthi forces accused the United States and Britain of launching an airstrike on the area of Al-Jabanah in the port city of Hodeidah, which is under Houthi control.

Residents there said an explosion occurred in an empty location.

On Saturday, the U.S. Central Command conducted “five successful strikes in self-defense” against Houthi targets, including mobile missiles and “for the first time” underwater drones.

It said its strikes since January against the Houthi forces aimed to degrade the Houthi military capabilities.

However, Houthis, in response, have increased and expanded their attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since last November to include the U.S. and British navy ships recently.

The Houthi forces have been controlling the strategic Hodeidah on the Red Sea since the 2018 UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement, which was backed by the United States and Britain, forcing the Yemeni internationally recognized government out.

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