Yemen's Houthis claim missile attack on British ship

Sanaa, Feb 16 (IANS) Yemen’s Houthi group has claimed responsibility for attacking a British ship in the Gulf of Aden with several missiles.

“We carried out a military operation against a British ship, Lycavitos, while it was sailing in the Gulf of Aden,” Yahya Sarea, the Houthi military spokesman, said in a statement aired by the group’s al-Masirah satellite TV channel on Thursday.

The Houthis launched several missiles that hit the ship “directly and accurately”, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Sarea.

The Barbados-flagged ship Lycavitos was sailing in the Indian Ocean to the east of Aden when it was hit by a missile strike, said a Yemeni government coast guard official who required anonymity.

Preliminary information indicated the vessel sustained minor damage from a fragment that struck the diesel generator’s pipe, causing a diesel leak, the official said. All crew members were unharmed in the incident.

Earlier in the day, the UK Maritime Operations Authority said it received a report of an explosion around 85 nautical miles east of Aden. The ship’s captain reported that the crew members were all safe as the ship headed toward its next port.

“We will continue to attack Israel-linked ships or those heading to Israeli ports in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden until the aggression on Gaza stops and the siege on the Palestinian people is lifted,” Sarea said in the statement.

“We are in the process of taking further military measures in response to the American-British aggression on our country and confirming our practical position to support the Palestinian people,” he added.

Meanwhile, the US and British forces on Thursday conducted new airstrikes on Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, the TV channel reported.

The airstrikes hit the area of al-Jah in the district of Bayt al-Faqih, south of Hodeidah, and the Al-Jabanah area in the northern part of the port city, the report said, without providing more details.

Since last November, Yemen’s Houthi group has been carrying out attacks in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait on ships linked to Israel, in a move to show its solidarity with Hamas fighting with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since last October.

In response, the US and UK have launched airstrikes and missile attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen since January 12. The Houthis have vowed to retaliate by expanding attacks on ships, including American and British commercial and military vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.



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