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Missile Attack Reported Targeting Ship in Gulf of Aden

Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden

Maritime security organizations said Thursday they received reports of a missile attack on a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations agency said two missiles were fired at the ship, resulting in a fire onboard.

UKMTO said further that "coalition forces are responding" to the incident, which happened about 130 kilometers southeast of the Yemeni port of Aden.

British maritime security firm Ambrey identified the ship as a Palau-flagged, U.K.-owned cargo ship.

The U.S. military said it carried out four airstrikes Wednesday targeting anti-ship cruise missiles located in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

U.S. Central Command said the strikes hit seven mobile cruise missiles and a missile launcher that were ready to launch toward the Red Sea.

U.S. forces also shot down a one-way attack drone, CENTCOM said.

The strikes were carried out in response to what CENTCOM called "an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the U.S. Navy ships in the region."

Houthi militants have conducted dozens of attacks since November, disrupting the key Red Sea shipping route. Many shipping companies have opted to avoid the area, taking the longer and more expensive route of sending ships around Africa.

Wednesday’s strikes came a day after the Pentagon confirmed the Iran-backed Houthis shot down a MQ-9 Reaper drone off the coast of Yemen.

The United States on Wednesday condemned the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, saying they are delaying and increasing the costs for food and medicine deliveries to parts of the world in need of humanitarian aid.

"Contrary to what the Houthis may attempt to claim, their attacks do nothing to help the Palestinians," U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. "Their actions are not bringing a single morsel of assistance or food to the Palestinian people."

The Houthis have said they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians amid the war in Gaza.

Miller reiterated that the United States is not seeking conflict in the Red Sea, where U.S. forces have intercepted Houthi attacks in addition to multiple airstrikes against Houthi missiles sites in Yemen.

"We and our partners will continue to take appropriate action, as needed, to protect freedom of navigation and commercial shipping from Houthi attacks in this critical international waterway and to safeguard vital economic and humanitarian assistance to countries in the region," Miller said.

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