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Houthis claim first attacks on ships in Indian Ocean

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SANA’A : Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia claimed on Friday that it had attacked Israeli and American ships in the Indian Ocean for the first time, only hours after its leader promised to extend action against Israel-linked ships in the area.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the militia launched drones and anti-ship missiles at three Israeli and American ships in the Indian Ocean following its attacks in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.

He also claimed that forces used missiles to strike an “Israeli” ship named Pacific 01 which was traveling through the Red Sea, as well as firing drones at a US Navy ship.

The Houthis warned that the militia will now attack any Israel-linked ships or those going to Israel in the Indian Ocean through the Cape of Good Hope.

Its statement said: “The Yemeni armed forces warn all Israeli ships heading to or coming from the ports of occupied Palestine not to pass through the Cape of Good Hope, or they will be a legitimate target for our armed forces.”

In recent months the Houthis have seized a commercial ship and its crew, and launched hundreds of drones, missiles, and remotely operated boats against foreign commercial and naval ships operating in international seas off Yemen’s shores in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.
The Houthis claim that the group targets Israel-linked or vessels bound for Israel to force the country to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

Houthi militia leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi said on Thursday that his forces would expand their actions against Israel.

Al-Houthi claimed that since March 7 the militia had launched 58 ballistic missiles and drones against dozens of commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean.

He said in a televised speech: “We declare that ships affiliated to the Israeli enemy will be prohibited from traversing the Indian Ocean, even in the area next to South Africa, toward Israel.”

The Houthi claims came as the US Central Command said on Friday that the militia had launched 13 ballistic missiles and two drones targeting international commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden during the past 24 hours.

CENTCOM said that the Houthis had fired four anti-ship ballistic missiles from areas under the militia’s control in Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, none of which struck any ships, while its forces shot down nine similar missiles and two drones fired by the group.

CENTCOM added: “These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for US Navy and merchant vessels.”

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