• Sunday, 09 June 2024

Red Sea alliance strikes back after Houthis attack UK-owned vessel

Red Sea alliance strikes back after Houthis attack UK-owned vessel

Washington/Cairo, 25 February 2024 (dpa/MIA) – The armed forces of the US and the UK have attacked some 18 targets at Houthi militia positions in Yemen.


With the support of other countries, they targeted the Iranian-backed militia at eight locations in Yemen overnight, the US Department of Defence announced in Washington on Saturday. The US and Great Britain made the strikes in response to the ongoing Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.


"These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, naval vessels, and the lives of innocent mariners," the Pentagon said in a statement.


The targets included underground Houthi weapons depots, missile storage facilities, drones, air defence systems and radar installations, the Pentagon said.


In their most recent attack, Houthi rebels struck a UK-owned bulk carrier in the Red Sea causing an oil slick, the US military said in the early hours of Saturday.


The Rubymar, a Belize-flagged vessel, was attacked on February 18, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, adding that the vessel "is anchored but slowly taking on water."


Yemen's Houthi rebels said on Monday that they had attacked a British ship in the Gulf of Aden, claiming that it was so severely damaged that it could sink.


CENTCOM said that the vessel suffered "significant damage," and that the attack had caused an 18-mile (29-kilometre) oil spill.


"The M/V Rubymar was transporting over 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was attacked, which could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster," the command centre said, accusing the Houthi rebels of showing "disregard for the regional impact of their indiscriminate attacks, threatening the fishing industry, coastal communities, and imports of food supplies."


The prime minister of Yemen's internationally recognized government, Ahmed bin Mubarak, on Saturday called on "concerned countries and organizations to contribute to its efforts to prevent a possible environmental disaster if the vessel sinks."


In a separate statement, CENTCOM said that its forces on Friday destroyed seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen that "were prepared to launch towards the Red Sea."


The regional command said it determined the missiles "presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the US Navy ships in the region."


Yemen's Islamist Houthi militia has vowed to attack ships in the Red Sea linked to Israel. However, many of the ships that have come under fire have no connection to the country.


The Houthis say they want to force an end to the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, which followed the unprecedented massacre by the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas in Israel on October 7 last year.


Because of the continuing Houthi attacks, major shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe and sailing around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope.


Photo: CENTCOM X screenshot