US responds with a strike on Huthi targets after a British oil tanker attack

In response to recent Huthi attacks, US forces took preemptive action by targeting an anti-ship missile in Huthi-held Yemen, thwarting its potential launch.

Read also: Houthis Target British-Linked Tanker in Gulf of Aden, Ignite Escalation

This decisive move followed an incident where Huthi rebels ignited a fire on a British tanker in the Gulf of Aden using a similar munition. The collaborative efforts of US and British forces aimed to diminish the Huthis' capacity to target vessels navigating the strategic Red Sea trade route, with the rebels asserting that these attacks were in support of Palestinians amidst the ongoing conflict with Israel.

The US military's Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed another targeted strike on a Huthi anti-ship missile that was poised for launch into the Red Sea. The Huthis countered by reporting two airstrikes on the port of Ras Issa in Yemen, located in the Hodeida province, which hosts the country's primary oil export terminal. As of now, there is no immediate confirmation from Washington or London, and the Huthis have not provided details regarding the extent of the attack or resultant damage.

The preceding day witnessed Huthi missiles striking the Marlin Luanda, an oil tanker operated by a British firm on behalf of Trafigura Group. The impact resulted in a significant fire, prompting a swift response from the USS Carney, the French Navy Frigate FS Alsace, and the Indian Navy Frigate INS Visakhapatnam. Trafigura subsequently confirmed that the ship remained seaworthy, thanks to the rapid and effective response, with no reported casualties.

These attacks have prompted shipping firms to reconsider utilizing the Red Sea route, opting for the longer journey around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The disruptions have significantly impacted international maritime traffic in the Red Sea, constituting approximately 12% of global maritime activity.

In response to these provocative actions, the United States is leading a coalition effort to safeguard Red Sea shipping, viewing it as a critical initiative analogous to a highway patrol for the vital waterway. Additionally, the US seeks to exert diplomatic and financial pressure on the Huthis, recently redesignating them as a "terrorist" organization. This move follows years of industry challenges, including disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to unprecedented freight rates.

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