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Yemen's Houthis claim fresh attacks on cargo ship in Red Sea, Israeli city

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-27 09:46
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A Houthi fighter stands on the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea in this photo released Nov 20, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

SANAA - Yemen's Houthi rebels on Tuesday claimed responsibility for fresh attacks on a commercial ship in the Red Sea and on the Israeli city of Eilat in the northern part of the Red Sea.

"Our naval forces carried out a military operation against a commercial ship called MSC UNITED, with naval missiles," Houthi military spokesman Yehya Sarea said in a statement aired live by the Houthi-run al-Masirah TV.

"The attack came after the ship's crew refused to answer calls from our naval forces for three times, and ignored our repeated warning messages," he said.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British maritime observer agency, reported two explosions early in the day near a commercial cargo ship in the southern end of the Red Sea, about 50 nautical miles west of Yemen's port city of Hodeidah, which is under the control of the Houthi fighters.

In the meantime, the spokesman said the Houthi forces also launched another attack toward the Israeli city of Eilat, using "a number of suicide drones".

But the Israeli military, which released the video footage of the interception, said in a statement on Tuesday that an Israeli aircraft "successfully intercepted a hostile aerial target that approached Israeli territory in the area of the Red Sea".

Currently, there are no reports of casualties or damage from the two attacks.

The Houthi attacks came after a series of missiles and suicide drone attacks claimed by the group against dozens of cargo ships navigating the Red Sea throughout the past few weeks since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct 7.

The Houthis on Sunday made a clear threat to the United States and its allies, demanding them withdraw their battleships from the Red Sea, otherwise, the militant group would turn the sea into a "burning arena".

Last week, the US announced the formation of a 10-nation naval task force to quell Houthi missile and drone attacks on ships transiting the Red Sea.

Houthi rebels have escalated attacks on Israel-linked commercial ships passing through the Red Sea and Arab Sea, demanding an end to Israel's aggression on the Gaza Strip and the delivery of food and medicine supplies to the Palestinian enclave.

The Houthis control large swathes of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa and the strategic port city of Hodeidah on the coast of the Red Sea, where up to 12 percent of world trade passes through.

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