fired an anti-ship ballistic missile at a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned and operated container ship called the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, the U.S. military and the vessel's operator said Monday, as the rebel group continued its assault on global shipping in the Red Sea. There were no injuries or significant damage reported on the civilian vessel, but the missile caused an inconsequential fire in the ship's hold, the vessel's operator said.
"Earlier in the day, at approximately 2 p.m. (Yemen local time), U.S. Forces detected an anti-ship ballistic missile fired toward the Southern Red Sea commercial shipping lanes," the U.S. military's Central Command said in a statement posted to social media, which also confirmed the attack on the cargo ship. The earlier missile "failed in flight and impacted on land in Yemen. There were no injuries or damage reported."
The latest attacks on commercial shipping came a day after CENTCOM said it had shot down an anti-ship cruise missile fired by the Houthis toward the American warship USS Laboon as it operated in the Red Sea. It was the first acknowledged attack by the Houthis on a U.S. warship since the U.S. and U.K. militaries started striking the Houthis after weeks of attacks by the Iran-backed group on cargo ships in the crucial shipping corridor.
The Houthis have been targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea with missiles and explosives-laden drones for weeks, claiming it as a legitimate response toin the Gaza Strip.
The missile that was fired toward the USS Laboon "was shot down in vicinity of the coast of Hudaydah (a port on Yemen's west coast) by U.S. fighter aircraft. There were no injuries or damage reported," CENTCOM said in a statement late Sunday.
President Biden announced U.S. and allied strikes on the Houthis in a statement Thursday night and, on Friday alone, 28 Houthi locations were targeted with bombs and missiles launched from air and sea. The strikes continued over the weekend, with U.S. forces hitting a Houthi radar site on Saturday, the AP reported.
The U.S. and allied strikes hadthe Houthis from targeting cargo vessels in the vital shipping corridor and Mohammed Abdulsalam, a chief political negotiator for the rebel movement, told the Reuters news agency the "attacks to prevent Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of the occupied Palestine will continue."
The U.K. Maritime Trade Operations agency first reported the strike on the M/V Gibraltar Eagle on Monday, saying a "vessel was hit from above by a missile" in Yemeni waters. The agency urged any vessels transiting the area to exercise "extreme caution," CBS News partner network BBC News reported.
"As a result of the impact, the vessel suffered limited damage to a cargo hold but is stable and is heading out of the area," Eagle Bulk, the ship's U.S. operator said in a statement quoted by Reuters. "All seafarers onboard the vessel are confirmed to be uninjured. The vessel is carrying a cargo of steel products."
The U.K. participated in the strikes against the Houthis, which British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a "last resort" after "exhaustive diplomatic activity" and warnings from Washington and London for the militants to stop attacking ships.
"We of course will not hesitate to protect our security where required," Sunak said.
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