Monday, March 4, 2024

Yemen says struck two Israel-bound ships

The Yemeni Army  announced it has targeted two Israel-bound container ships in waters off the country’s coast, the latest of their operations to support Palestinians who are under attacks by Tel Aviv.

In a statement, the Yemeni Army said it fired two naval missiles at two ships heading to Israel, namely MSC ALANYA and MSC PALATIUM III after they refused to respond to calls from Yemen as well as fire warning messages on Friday.

The statement reiterated Yemen’s position that they will only target ships heading to Israeli ports, and all the other ships bound for other ports can freely move in waters near Yemen.

The Yemeni Army stressed it will continue to target Israel-bound ships in the Arabian and Red Sea until food and medicine is delivered to the Gaza Strip.

Earlier, a US defense official had reported two attacks in the region, saying a US Navy destroyer was on its way to aid one of the vessels hit.

No casualties have been reported.

Yemen’s Army has conducted several such attacks against Israel-bound ships in recent weeks.

Late on Thursday, Yemen claimed to have carried out a military operation against a Maersk container vessel, directly hitting it with a drone.

In November, Yemeni forces seized a vehicle transport ship linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen. They still hold the vessel near the port city of Hodeida.

Some attacks occurred near Bab al-Mandab, the narrow strait between Yemen and northeast Africa through which much of global commerce flows.

Some 40 percent of international trade passes through the area, which leads to the Red Sea.

Western media reports say that insurance costs for ships transiting the area have jumped in recent days, amounting to increases in the tens of thousands of dollars for larger ships like oil tankers.

US officials say they plan to build an international coalition to protect ships in the area, with the US Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, adding on Thursday that Washington wanted the “broadest possible” maritime coalition to signal to the Yemenis that attacks would not be tolerated.

Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has dismissed US plans to establish a maritime task force in the Red Sea to protect the passage of Israel-bound merchant vessels.

Yemen has vowed they will continue with their attacks until Israel stops its onslaught against the Gaza Strip, which has so far killed around 19,000 people, mostly women and children.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has said Yemeni strikes against ships heading to the Israeli-occupied territories send a message to the West that they should stop the ongoing carnage or expect the crisis to expand across the region.

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