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Middle East crisis

Yemen’s Houthis take responsibility for attack on Greek-owned bulk carrier

Yemen’s Houthis take responsibility for attack on Greek-owned bulk carrier
An armed Houthi fighter looks at a banner depicting portraits of slain Houthi fighters, at a street in Sana'a, Yemen, 15 February 2024. Yemen's Houthis have threatened to intensify their drone and missile attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden if they are finally classified as a terrorist group by the United States, a measure that would come into effect on 16 February. In January 2024, the US Department of State designated Yemen's Houthis as a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist group' due to their increased attacks on shipping lanes. In December 2023, the US Department of Defense announced a multinational operation to safeguard trade and protect ships in the Red Sea in response to the escalation of Houthi attacks. EPA-EFE/YAHYA ARHAB

DUBAI, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Yemen's Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile attack on Barbados-flagged bulk carrier "Lycavitos" in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday, the Iran-aligned militants said in a statement.

The Houthis said the targeted vessel was British. The vessel is managed by Helikon Shipping Enterprises, which has offices in London, Athens and Dalian, China.

Helikon said in a response that the vessel was Greek-owned and that details issued earlier by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency were “informative”, without providing further details.

The UKMTO said earlier on Thursday it had received a report of an explosion near a vessel some 85 nautical miles east of Aden.

The ship suffered minor damage after being struck by an explosive projectile some 100 nautical miles east of Yemen’s port city of Aden, British maritime security firm Ambrey said separately.

Crew members were unharmed and damage from shrapnel was contained to the vessel, Ambrey said.

The security firm advised other vessels to exercise caution as the Houthis have targeted multiple vessels on the same day and some vessels multiple times.

The Houthis have launched repeated drone and missile attacks against international commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait since mid-November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians against Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Their targets have been vessels with commercial ties to the United States, Britain or Israel, shipping and insurance sources say.

The attacks have prompted several companies to halt Red Sea journeys and opt for a longer and more expensive route around Africa, and US and British warplanes have carried out retaliatory strikes across Yemen.

(Reporting by Jana Choukeir in Dubai and Yomna Ehab in Cairo; Additional reporting by Jonathan Saul in London and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles writing by Nayera Abdallah; editing by Nick Macfie, Gareth Jones and Alex Richardson)

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