Yemen’s Houthis claim attack on US military ship in Gulf of Aden, US denies incident

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The Houthis claimed Monday they had hit a US military cargo ship off the coast of Yemen, but the United States denied an attack had taken place.

The Iran-backed militia “led a military operation targeting the American military cargo ship Ocean Jazz in the Gulf of Aden,” near the Red Sea, with missiles, said Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree.

Asked about the claim, a US defense official told AFP: “We’re not seeing that at all on our end and believe that statement to be untrue.”

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The Houthis began striking Red Sea shipping in November, saying they were hitting Israeli-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza, which has been ravaged by fighting amid the Hamas-Israel war.

The United States, an ally of Israel, has responded to the Houthis’ strikes by launching a series of strikes on the group, hitting dozens of sites in Yemen.

The Houthis have since declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.

Washington is also seeking to put diplomatic and financial pressure on the Houthis, re-designating them as a “terrorist” entity after dropping that label soon after President Joe Biden took office.

The Houthis reiterated on Monday that they will “respond to any attack” on Yemen and continue to “prevent Israeli ships” from crossing the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden until the end of the war in the Palestinian territory.

Yemen is just one part of a growing crisis in the Middle East amid the war in Gaza, where Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground offensive have killed more than 25,000 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Israel’s campaign began after the unprecedented October attacks by Hamas resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

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