Container ship struck by missile in Red Sea: Centcom

A container ship run by the Danish shipping company Maersk has been struck by a missile in the southern part of the Red Sea, the US Central Command has confirmed.

“…The container ship Maersk Hangzhou reported that they were struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea,” the Central Command said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Singapore-flagged ship requested assistance, and the USS Gravely and USS Laboon have responded to the vessel, according to the post. While responding, the USS Gravely shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships.

“The vessel is reportedly seaworthy and there are no reported injuries,” the post added.

This is the 23rd attack by the Houthis on international shipping since November 19, the US Central Command noted.

Later, the military announced US Navy helicopters sank three Houthi small boats after they attacked and attempted to board the container ship Maersk Hangzhou off the coast of Yemen.

Four small boats originating from “Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen” attacked the Maersk Hangzhou with small arms and attempted to board the merchant vessel, according to a statement from CENTCOM on Sunday, which added that a security team on board had returned fire.

CENTCOM added that helicopters from the USS Eisenhower and Gravely responded to the Maersk Hangzhou’s distress call, the second in less than 24 hours, and were fired on by the Houthi boats.

“The US Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area,” the statement said, adding that there was “no damage to US personnel or equipment”.

Yemenis have declared their open support for Palestine’s struggle against the Israeli occupation since the regime launched a devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance movements carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed at least 21,600 people, most of them women and children. Another 56,000 individuals have been wounded.

Reports revealed that Israeli shipping companies have already decided to reroute their vessels in fear of attacks by Yemeni forces.

Yemeni forces have also launched missile and drone attacks on targets in the Israeli-occupied territories after the regime’s aggression on Gaza.

Last week, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the establishment of a multinational operation to secure the Red Sea amid the surge in Houthis’ attacks on cargo ships, saying that the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles, and Spain would take part in the mission. The Houthis, for their part, vowed to attack any ships that join the US-led maritime coalition.

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