2, March, 2024
HomeWorldSafeguarding Maritime Trade: US Forces Thwart Houthi Anti-Ship Missile Threat in Yemen

Safeguarding Maritime Trade: US Forces Thwart Houthi Anti-Ship Missile Threat in Yemen

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In a recent defensive operation, US forces successfully intercepted and neutralized an anti-ship missile in Houthi-held Yemen that was poised for launch early Saturday. This strategic move came in response to the Iran-backed rebels’ earlier attack on a British tanker in the Gulf of Aden, where a similar munition ignited a fire.

Read Also | Houthi Rebels Claim Attack on US Ship Amid Escalating Tensions in Red Sea

The joint efforts of US and British forces aim to curtail the Houthis’ capacity to target vessels navigating the crucial Red Sea trade route. The rebels claim these attacks are a show of solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.

Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that the strike occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, targeting a Houthi anti-ship missile positioned to launch into the Red Sea. The retaliatory action was taken in self-defense, according to CENTCOM’s statement on the X social media platform.

The preceding evening witnessed the Marlin Luanda, a British oil tanker, being struck by missiles from Yemeni naval forces, as reported by Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree. CENTCOM later verified the incident, stating that the vessel issued a distress call and reported damage, with USS Carney (DDG 64) and other coalition ships promptly responding to render assistance.

Earlier on Friday, the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile towards USS Carney in the Gulf of Aden, which was successfully intercepted with no reported injuries or damage. Risk monitor Ambrey and the UK Maritime Trade Operations corroborated reports of the incident, with the missiles exploding in close proximity to an India-affiliated oil tanker.

The Houthis, who initiated Red Sea shipping targets in November, have expanded their list of legitimate targets to include US and British interests. The United States, leading a coalition to safeguard Red Sea shipping, likens the effort to a highway patrol for the vital waterway.

In response to these attacks, the United States is intensifying diplomatic and financial pressure on the Houthis. Last week, the group was redesignated as a terrorist organization, a move aimed at addressing the disruption caused by their actions. The attacks by the rebels, aligned with Iranian proxies and allies in an anti-Israel, anti-West alliance, have significantly impacted global trade in the Red Sea, responsible for approximately 12 percent of international maritime traffic.

Read Also | International Responses to US-UK Strikes on Yemen: Perspectives on the Red Sea Crisis

The maritime industry, already grappling with challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, faces additional hurdles as shipping firms opt for longer and more expensive routes around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, bypassing the troubled waters of the Red Sea.

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