3 Commercial Ships Attacked in Red Sea by Houthi Rebels

Three commercial ships was attacked by missiles in the Red Sea on December 4, 2023. The attack, carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, an escalation in incidents related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The situation intensified as a U.S. warship, the USS Carney, downed three drones during the attack.

Red Sea Houthi Rebels

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The attacks happened around 9:15 a.m. in Houthi-controlled Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer, detected a ballistic missile fired at the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier, Unity Explorer.

The missile struck in close to the ship. The USS Carney shot down a drone, though it remains unclear if the destroyer was the intended target.

Approximately 30 minutes later, the Unity Explorer was hit by another missile, resulting in minor damage. Responding to the call, the USS Carney intercepted and neutralized another incoming drone.

Two additional commercial ships, the Panamanian-flagged bulk carriers Number 9 and Sophie II, also came under missile attacks. The Number 9 reported some damage, while the Sophie II reported no harm.

The U.S. military, through its Central Command, condemned the attacks as a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security.

It pointed fingers at Iran, asserting that the Houthi attacks were enabled by the Iranian government. The U.S. vowed to consider all appropriate responses, signaling the the situation and the repercussions on an already tense geopolitical landscape.

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed responsibility for two of the attacks, stating that the first vessel was hit by a missile and the second by a drone in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

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Saree issued a warning, addressing that Yemeni armed forces would continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden until the Israeli aggression against Gaza ceased.

Saree identified the Unity Explorer, owned by a British firm, and the Number 9, linked to Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.

The Sophie II’s owner, Kyowa Kisen of Imabari, Japan, reported no damage to the vessel or injuries to the crew.

The attacks come amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the U.S. military’s assertion of Iran’s involvement concerns about the implications of regional tensions.

The Red Sea, a shipping route, has witnessed a series of incidents, including an attack on an Israeli-linked cargo ship by Houthi militants in November.

The British military reported an explosion off the coast of Yemen in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, underlining the strategic significance of the region.

The U.S. had previously reported shooting down a drone near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait last week, indicating a pattern of maritime threats.

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The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, has been actively involved in intercepting rockets fired by the Houthis towards Israel during the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Despite being targeted multiple times, the Carney has not sustained damage, and no injuries have been reported on board.

The attacks concerns about the safety of international shipping and maritime activities in the region. The U.S. military’s strong condemnation to Iran indicate a readiness to address such threats firmly.

The world, including the United Kingdom, has been alerted to exercise caution in the Red Sea. The attacks in the Red Sea are linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

In Gaza, Israel has ordered additional evacuations, and Palestinians are facing challenges in finding safe locations within the sealed-off territory.

The conflict, which began on October 7, has seen continuous hostilities, with world leaders calling for truce deals.

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed responsibility for two of the attacks, stating that the first vessel was hit by a missile, and the second was hit by a drone in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Saree did not mention any U.S. warship involvement but warned that Houthi forces would continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

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