Yemen's Houthis claim missile strike on US military cargo ship in Gulf of Aden

Sanaa, Jan 23 (IANS) Yemen’s Houthi group said it has carried out a strike on an American military cargo ship, OCEAN JAZZ, in the Gulf of Aden, claiming to have used sea-based missiles.

In a statement broadcast by the group’s al-Masirah TV, its military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Monday that the group “affirms that retaliation against American and British attacks is inevitable, and any new aggression will not go unpunished”.

The Houthis reaffirmed that they would keep “imposing a blockade on Israel-linked ships, preventing them from transiting the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea until a ceasefire in Gaza is achieved with the siege (on it) lifted,” according to the statement.

“We will continue to take all defensive and offensive procedures within the right to defend Yemen (Houthis) and in support of Palestine,” Sarea said, vowing retaliation for “any American or British aggression against the group”.

The US forces have yet to respond to the alleged attack, nor did the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations receive new reports of such attack from shipping lines, Xinhua news agency reported.

This is the fourth US ship that has been attacked by the Houthi forces in nearly two weeks since January 9, amid a remarkable escalation between the Houthis and the US-led coalition in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis’ escalation came after the US and British forces stationed in the Red Sea launched several airstrikes on the Houthi positions in northern Yemeni provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in an attempt to deter the Houthis from carrying out further attacks on Israel-linked vessels transiting the Red Sea.

On Wednesday, the US re-designated the Houthi group, also known as Ansarallah, as a “global terrorist organisation,” according to two statements issued by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The Houthi forces have controlled much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa and the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, since ousting the internationally recognised Yemeni government in 2014.



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