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US says downed Houthi anti-ship missile, four drones

By AFP - Apr 26,2024 - Last updated at Apr 26,2024

DUBAI — US-led coalition forces shot down four drones and an anti-ship missile launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels, American authorities said on Thursday, as the Iran-backed group announced strikes against US and Israeli ships.

A Greek vessel deployed in the Gulf of Aden as part of an EU naval coalition also shot down a drone off Yemen's coast early on Thursday, the Greece general staff said in a statement.

The incidents follow a lull in attacks by the Houthis, who launched dozens of missile and drone strikes targeting shipping since November, saying they were acting in solidarity with Palestinians during the Hamas-Israel war.

Despite the drop in attacks in recent weeks, late on Wednesday the Houthis said they "are continuing to take further military actions against all hostile targets in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean".

US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, that just before noon Yemen time (09:00 GMT) on Wednesday a coalition vessel "successfully engaged one anti-ship ballistic missile [ASBM]" launched from Houthi-controlled areas of the country.

The missile was likely targeting the MV Yorktown, a US-flagged shipping vessel, CENTCOM said, adding there were no injuries or damage.

CENTCOM also said it had engaged and destroyed four drones launched by the Houthis shortly afterwards.

“It was determined that the ASBM and UAVs [drones] presented an imminent threat to US, coalition, and merchant vessels in the region,” CENTCOM said.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree on Wednesday said that the rebels attacked US and Israeli ships, including the MV Yorktown which he claimed was hit, without providing evidence.

The Houthi rebels said they “carried out a military operation targeting the American ship [MV Yorktown] in the Gulf of Aden, with a number of suitable naval missiles, and the hit was accurate”, Saree said.

The group also “targeted an American warship destroyer in the Gulf of Aden with a number of drones, and in another operation, targeted an Israeli ship the [MSC Veracruz] in the Indian Ocean, with a number of drones”, he added, saying the operations “achieved their objectives”.

The Houthi attacks have drawn reprisal strikes from the United States and Britain as well as the deployment of Western naval forces to counter strikes on ships plying the busy commercial routes.

The Greek frigate Hydra, deployed to the Gulf of Aden in February, fired on two drones off the coast of Yemen on Thursday, shooting down one, Greek authorities said.

The Houthis, who control much of Yemen’s Red Sea coast, are part of an “axis of resistance” of Iran allies and proxies targeting Israel in protest at its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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