U.S.-Owned Ship Gibraltar Eagle Struck by Houthi Missile in Gulf of Aden

Houthi Militants Strike US-Owned Container Ship in the Gulf of Aden

In a recent alarming development, Houthi militants targeted a US-owned and operated container ship with an anti-ship ballistic missile on Monday. The strike occurred in the Gulf of Aden, a critical waterway located between Yemen and the Horn of Africa. The vessel, known as the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, sustained the attack but fortunately reported no injuries or significant damage, according to a statement from US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The missile was fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, escalating tensions in the already volatile Middle East. A spokesperson for the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was a “military operation targeting an American ship.” These retaliatory attacks come on the heels of a series of US strikes designed to weaken the Houthi militants’ capabilities.

The Gibraltar Eagle, a bulk carrier sailing under the Marshall Islands flag, is the first American-owned ship to be hit by a Houthi missile during their months-long assault on maritime traffic in the region. Mick Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, condemned the attack as an act of terrorism, stating, “They are using violence against a civilian target to advance their political aims.”

Despite previous assessments that the Houthis were not directly targeting US holdings, the situation shifted in early January when the militants launched a barrage of drones and missiles in response to the sinking of three Houthi vessels by US forces. While no US vessels were hit, a Houthi spokesperson claimed they had targeted an American ship supporting Israel.

The Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks until Israel ends what they describe as a “siege on Gaza.” However, it is worth noting that many of the ships struck by the militants have little to no connection to Israel, according to Israeli government officials and international registries tracking commercial shipping vessels.

The US and its allies have responded to the recent spate of attacks with airstrikes, but experts believe that more action is needed to deter future incidents. Mulroy suggests that the US should target radar, launch, and storage sites along the Yemen coast to ensure the safety of maritime traffic in the region.

The situation in the Gulf of Aden remains tense, and international condemnation of the Houthi attacks continues. As the US and its allies navigate this complex situation, the safety of commercial ships and the stability of the region hang in the balance.

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