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AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed responsibility on Wednesday for two drone and missile attacks on a US warship and a commercial ship in the Red Sea, vowing to continue striking ships in international seas, mostly near Yemen’s borders, in support of Palestinians.

In a televised broadcast, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said that the militia’s naval forces launched an “accurate” missile strike on the US Navy destroyer USS Mason in the Red Sea, as well as a combined attack on the Destiny in the Red Sea. Sarea did not specify when Houthis forces assaulted the two ships, or if the militia caused any human casualties or damage. The statement comes a day after US Central Command said that the USS Mason shot down an incoming anti-ship ballistic missile launched by the Houthis from areas under militia control in Yemen on Monday evening.

According to marinetraffic.com, which provides information on ship locations and identities, the Destiny is a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier that left Bangladesh’s Port of Chittagong on March 31 and landed at the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah on April 17. The Houthis said they attacked the ship when it reached Israel’s Eilat on April 20, defying militia warnings to ships sailing the Red Sea to avoid the port.

The Houthis have sunk one ship, seized another and launched hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones, and explosive-laden drone boats at International commercial and naval ships in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and, more recently, the Indian Ocean. The militia claimed its strikes were intended to push Israel to cease its blockade of the Gaza Strip, and that they targeted US and UK ships after the two nations blasted Houthi-controlled regions of Yemen.

On Tuesday, Houthi media said that jets from the US and the UK had launched four strikes on Hodeidah airport in the Red Sea city, the second round of airstrikes on the same airport this week. The US and UK replied to the Houthi Red Sea campaign by unleashing hundreds of airstrikes on Sanaa, Saada, Hodeidah and other Houthi-controlled Yemeni regions. According to the two nations, the strikes prevented many Houthi missile, drone, or drone boat assaults on ships in international seas while significantly weakening Houthi military capabilities.

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces said on Tuesday that Lebanon and Albania joined the international marine coalition as the 44th and 45th members, respectively. “It is a pleasure to welcome both Lebanon and Albania to the Combined Maritime Forces,” US Navy Vice Admiral George Wikoff, the CMF commander, said in a statement. The Bahrain-based CMF is made up of five task teams that protect major maritime waterways such as the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandab Strait.

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