Houthi attack hits US-operated ship in the Red Sea

The KOI, a US-operated container ship, has been struck by a Houthi missile in the Red Sea, triggering a new escalation of violence in Yemen.

Cartoon representation of the US ship hit by a Houthi attack

A US-operated merchant ship, the KOI, was hit by a Houthi attack in the Red Sea, the latest in a series of assaults on commercial vessels.

The KOI is a container ship flying the Liberian flag and run by Oceonix Services, a UK-based company. Another ship from the same company, the oil tanker Marlin Luanda, was also struck by a missile on Saturday.

The Houthi movement in Yemen claims responsibility for the attacks, saying they are targeting Israeli, US and British ships in response to Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza, and the US and British airstrikes on Houthi missile sites. The Houthis say they are defending their country from “British-American aggression”.

The Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Sarea, said on Wednesday that they had fired “several appropriate naval missiles” at the KOI, which he said was on its way to “the ports of occupied Palestine”, a term that can refer to Israel.

He also warned that Yemen would “not hesitate” to strike back against any “British-American escalation”.

The US Central Command said it had launched new air strikes in Yemen, destroying 10 drones that were being prepared for launch and posed a threat to merchant vessels and US warships in the area.

It also said that one of its warships had shot down three Iranian drones and a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea have disrupted international trade and caused concern over potential supply shortages.

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