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Houthis fire at ship carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen, US says

Houthis fire at ship carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen, US says
A Yemen Houthi movement fighter guard stands next to an armored vehicle positioned on a street on 15 February 2024 in Sana'a, Yemen. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

Houthi militants in Yemen on Tuesday fired two missiles at a ship carrying humanitarian assistance to the country, according to US Central Command.

One of the missiles exploded near the M/V Sea Champion, causing minor damage, but the ship continued on its course to the Yemeni port city of Aden, Centcom said in a statement on the social media platform X. The statement accused the Houthis of making the humanitarian crisis in their own country even worse.  

“Houthi aggression in the region has exacerbated already high levels of need in conflict-impacted Yemen, which remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with nearly 80% of the entire population needing humanitarian assistance,” Centcom said in its statement.

The regular attacks have snarled shipping through the Red Sea, forcing traffic around the southern tip of Africa and other alternate routes. Although the Houthis say their missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are a response to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, Centcom pointed out that the Sea Champion “has delivered humanitarian aid to Yemen 11 times in the past five years.”

Houthis Target Ship Linked to Humanitarian Aid

On February 19, between 12:30 p.m. and 1:50 p.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles at M/V Sea Champion, a Greek-flagged, U.S.-owned bulk carrier bound for the port of Aden in… pic.twitter.com/uOH8FFwo9j

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) February 21, 2024

The assaults on commercial shipping have continued despite waves of US and UK airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. Over the weekend, a crew was forced to abandon ship because of an attack.   

US and UK officials said on Tuesday that the cargo vessel, the Rubymar, hadn’t sunk. That contradicted a Houthi claim on Monday that the attack resulted in its “complete sinking”.

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