US Navy breaks a Houthi rebels missile attack in the Red Sea

A statement from the US Central Command (CENTCOM) revealed that two missiles fired from Houthi rebels controlled areas in Yemen were aimed at a Singapore-flagged container ship.

On Saturday, US Navy successfully intercepted and destroyed two missiles that were launched from Yemen’s Houthi rebels towards a merchant ship in the southern Red Sea. According to a statement from the US Central Command (CENTCOM) that was shared on the social media platform X, the container ship that was targeted had a Singaporean flag and was owned and operated by Danish companies.

The ship was hit by one missile and received help from the US destroyers USS Gravely and USS Laboon. “CENTCOM can confirm that the vessel is able to sail and there were no injuries”, the statement said on their social media accounts.

This is the latest in a series of events in the Red Sea, where the Houthi rebels have used missiles and drones to attack commercial ships of different countries. The Houthi attacks, allegedly aiming at Israel and its affiliated vessels, are threatening a crucial transit route that accounts for up to 12% of global trade. As a result, the US formed a multinational naval force earlier this month to protect navigation in the Red Sea, despite the difficulties to make this naval force effective.

On Thursday, the US announced sanctions on one person and three exchange houses that were accused of helping the transfer of Iranian financial support to the Houthi rebels, in reaction to the group’s attacks on navigation.

Two of the exchange houses are located in Yemen, and one is in Turkey, as stated by the Department of the Treasury in a statement.

“Today’s action demonstrates our commitment to stop the illegal flow of funds to the Houthis, who continue to conduct dangerous attacks on international shipping, creating the risk of further instability in the region,” said Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The sanctions block all US assets of the entities involved and generally ban Americans from dealing with them.

Since November 19, the Houthi rebels have targeted or assaulted a dozen ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden using drones and missiles, trying to increase the international cost of Israel’s operation in Gaza.

The Treasury said that the actions were aimed at a network through which an Iran-based financier, Said al-Jamal, who has been under US sanctions since at least June 2021, delivers Iranian funds to the Houthis.

One of those affected is Al Aman Kargo Ithalat Ve Nakliyat Limited Sirketi, which the Treasury described as a “conduit” for funding given to the Houthi rebels by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran.

The Houthi rebels have expressed their readiness to face possible “aggression” from Washington, intending to stop rebel attacks on ships in the Red Sea, while supporting the “oppressed” Palestinian people.

The Houthi military spokesperson, Yehya Sarea, referred to statements by the top leader of the Yemeni rebels, Abdelmalik al-Houthi, on Twitter, warning the US that it will encounter something harder than Afghanistan and Vietnam if it decides to send troops to Yemen.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces are fully prepared militarily to follow the orders of Commander Abdul Malik… Al Houthi, may God protect him, at any time to face any aggression against our country and our people,” said Sarea. He stressed that the forces of the Shiite group “will not hesitate to do whatever is necessary” in case of a US attack “within their religious and national duties and responsibilities,” urging the “enemy” to heed the warnings of the rebels’ top leader.

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