Three dead in first fatal Houthi attack in the Red Sea

Three dead in first fatal Houthi attack in the Red Sea

Televised address by Yemeni Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’e on March 4, 2024 in Sana’a, Yemen.

Mohammed Hamoud | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Three people were killed in a Houthi attack on a civilian merchant ship, US authorities said. It was the first death since the Iran-backed militant group began attacks on the Red Sea shipping route late last year.

U.S. Central Command said late Wednesday that Houthi forces attacked the Barbados-flagged Liberian bulk carrier True Confidence with an anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, resulting in several deaths.

“The missile hit the ship and the multinational crew reports three fatalities, at least four injured, three of whom are in critical condition, and significant damage to the ship,” Centcom said. “The crew has abandoned ship and coalition warships have responded and are assessing the situation.”

The Philippines’ Ministry of Migrant Workers identified two of the sailors killed in the incident and two of the injured crew members as Filipinos in a social media post early Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirms the death of two Filipino sailors in the Houthi rebels’ recent attack on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” it said, citing their names and identities. “We were also informed that two other Filipino crew members were seriously injured in the attack on their ship.”

According to UK Maritime Trade Operations, the ship was “damaged” in a Houthi clash 54 nautical miles southwest of Aden on Wednesday after it was stopped for 30 minutes and ordered to leave by an organization calling itself the “Yemeni Navy.” to change course. The ship was not identified by name at the time.

The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces conducted a targeted operation against the American ship (TRUE CONFIDENCE) in the Gulf of Aden using a series of appropriate naval missiles. The attack was precise and resulted in a fire breaking out on it. Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’e said on social media platform X, adding that the ship rejected Houthi warnings.

“All crews of the attacked ships must leave quickly after the initial attack,” he said.

CNBC has reached out to ship operator Third January Maritime.

This is the first deadly Houthi attack since the group began naval offensives against ships passing through the crucial Red Sea route, which accounts for 12% of global traffic. The Houthis express solidarity with Palestinian civilians at risk in Israel’s military operation against the Iranian-backed militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Yemeni forces say they only target ships linked to Israel, the US and the UK – after the latter two began retaliatory missile attacks in response to disruptions in the Red Sea – but they have repeatedly targeted ships attacked those not affiliated with Israel, the US and the UK.

On Saturday, the Belize-flagged general cargo ship Rubymar became the first casualty to sink in the Red Sea after it found itself drifting abandoned following a Houthi attack in mid-February.

In a separate incident earlier this week, four key telecommunications cables were severed in the Red Sea. The cause of the disruption was not immediately clear, but the incident affected 25% of traffic, HGC Communications said.

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2024-03-07 08:49:01