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Yemen's rebels target Singapore-flagged ship as U.S. and allies down Houthi drones

This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels set off explosions ahead of a Singapore-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Aden, authorities said, the latest in a campaign of assaults by the Iranian-backed group over Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The attack on Friday targeted the bulk carrier Propel Fortune, which continued on its way, according to the United States military's Central Command. "The missiles did not impact the vessel," the U.S. military said. "There were no injuries or damages reported."

The Houthis said Saturday they were behind the attack. Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed that along with targeting the Propel Fortune Attack, the Houthi forces also launched 37 drones targeting American warships.

American officials said early Saturday that the U.S. Navy, allied warships and aircraft have shot down 15 bomb-carrying Houthi drones in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Friday's attack on Propel Fortune came after a Houthi missile struck a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, killing three of its crew members and forcing survivors to abandon the vessel.

That was the first fatal strike in the Houthi's campaign over the war in Gaza. The Houthis describe the attacks as trying to pressure Israel into stopping the war, but their targets increasingly have little or nothing to do with the conflict.

Other recent Houthi actions include an attack in February on a fertilizer-carrying cargo ship, the Rubymar, which sank on Saturday after drifting for several days, and the downing of an American drone worth tens of millions of dollars.

The U.S. also conducted airstrikes Friday that it said destroyed two Houthi truck-mounted anti-ship missiles in Yemen. The rebels did not directly acknowledge any destruction from those strikes.

The Houthis have held northern Yemen and the country's capital of Sanaa since 2014. They've battled a Saudi-led coalition since 2015 in a long-stalemated civil war in the Arab world's most impoverished country.

Since the U.S. began its airstrike campaign in January, the Houthis have acknowledged the killing of at least 22 of its fighters. One civilian has also been reported killed.

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The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]