Ship in Gulf of Aden, Israel port city Eilat targeted in suspected Houthi attack

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Suspected attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group early Wednesday targeted a ship in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Israeli port city of Eilat, authorities said.

The attacks follow the departure of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower after an eight-month deployment in which the aircraft carrier led the American response to the Houthi assaults.

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Those attacks have reduced shipping drastically through the route crucial to Asian, Middle East and European markets in a campaign the Houthis say will continue as long as the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip rages.

The ship attack happened off the coast of Aden, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said.

The captain “of a merchant vessel reported a missile impacted the water in close proximity to the vessel,” the UKMTO said. “The crew are reported safe and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call.”

The UKMTO did not say if the ship had been damaged.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military early Wednesday said a drone “fell off the coast of Eilat.” The military activated air raid sirens in the area.

The drone “was monitored by (Israeli) soldiers throughout the incident and it did not cross into Israeli territory,” the Israeli military said. “During the incident, an interceptor was launched toward the” drone.

The Houthis have targeted Eilat before with drones and missiles.

The Houthis did not immediately claim either attack. However, it can take the militants hours or even days before they acknowledge their assaults.

The group has been targeting more than 60 specific vessels by firing off missiles and drones in their campaign that has killed a total of four sailors. They have seized one vessel and sunk two since November.

A US-led airstrike campaign has targeted the Houthis since January, with a series of strikes on May 30 killing at least 16 people and wounding 42 others, the group says.

The Houthis have maintained that their attacks target ships linked to Israel, the United States or Britain.

However, many of the ships attacked have little or no connection to the Israel-Hamas war — including those bound for Iran.

Late Tuesday, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed an attack Monday on the Liberian-flagged, Greek-managed container ship MSC Sarah V.

Saree claimed without offering additional evidence that the Houthis used a new ballistic missile in the assault, which targeted a ship farther away from nearly all of the previous assaults they’ve launched in the Gulf of Aden.

With The Associated Press

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