Houthis fire missiles at ships in Red Sea: Pentagon

Houthis fire missiles at ships in Red Sea: Pentagon

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired two ballistic missiles at international shipping lanes in the southern Red Sea, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed on Saturday.

CENTCOM said it received reports from two ships in the southern Red Sea that they were under attack, though no ships were hit by the missiles.

The incidents come amid an uptick in attacks from the Houthis against Israeli-linked vessels in the Red Sea in a maritime campaign to stop Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks in Gaza amid Israel’s war with Hamas.

The M/V Blaamanen, a Norwegian-flagged, owned and operated chemical and oil tanker reported a near miss from a drone while the M/V Saibaba, a Gabon-owned, Indian-flagged crude oil tanker, said it was hit with a drone. No injuries were reported in both incidents, CENTCOM saud.

Recent Houthi attacks have hit or nearly missed ships that don’t have clear ties to Israel. As a result, several shipping companies — including BP, A.P. Moller-Maersk, MSC, Hapag-Llyod and CMA CGM — have suspended operations in the Red Sea and rerouted their movement.

The suspension of operations also impacted global oil prices, with pricing rising by more than 2 percent just hours after BP announced it would suspend operations.

The White House on Friday accused Iran of close involvement with these attacks, claiming Tehran’s clerical state provided drones, missiles and tactical intelligence to the Houthis, per Reuters.

“We know that Iran was deeply involved in planning the operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This is consistent with Iran’s long-term materiel support and encouragement of the Houthis’ destabilizing actions in the region,” White House national security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

Iran has denied involvement in attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea, the news wire added.

The White House last week said the U.S. may establish a naval task force to escort commercial ships in the Red Sea amid in the uptick in attacks.

Separately on Saturday, Iran threatened that the Mediterranean Sea could be “closed” if the U.S. and Israel continue “crimes” in Gaza. Iran, which has long supported Hamas, accused the Israeli military and the U.S. — a close Israeli ally — of committing war crimes in Gaza.

Over 20,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza since Israel’s war with Hamas began in early October, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The U.S. has expressed steadfast support of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack that left an estimated 1,200 people dead in Israel, while advising Israel to take extra precautions to curb civilian deaths in Gaza.

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