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Published 3 months ago

The Iranian-backed Houthis (Ansar Allah) continue to hit Israel-affiliated ships and others linked to the United States and the United Kingdom in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in response to the Israeli war and siege on the Gaza Strip, embarrassing the U.S. Navy which has so far failed to secure waters near Yemen.

On March 2, MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned bulk carrier, sank in the Red Sea after being struck by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile last month. The ship was the first to be sunk by the Houthis since the start of the current confrontation.

On the same day, Italian destroyer Caio Duilio shot down a Houthi missile over the Red Sea. The missile was within 4 miles of the destroyer before it was shot down.

On March 4, the Houthis struck the cargo ship MSC Sky II in the Gulf of Aden using an anti-ship ballistic missile. The group claimed that the ship was owned by Israel and said that several U.S. warships were targeted on the same day.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on the same day that its forces carried out strikes against two anti-ship cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen.

Also on the same day, several undersea cables in the Red Sea were reportedly cut, which resulted in disruption to telecommunications networks in the Middle East. The Houthis were blamed for the incident, but didn’t official claim responsibility.

The strikes failed to deter the Houthis, who announced on March 5 that they had launched multiple missile and drone attacks against two U.S. Navy warships in the Red Sea.

CENTCOM said later that its forces shot down one anti-ship ballistic missile and three suicide drones which were heading toward USS Carney in the Red Sea. There are no injuries or damage to the ship.

It also said in the same statement that its forces destroyed three anti-ship missiles and three unmanned surface vessels in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The Houthis hit again on March 6, by firing several anti-ship ballistic missiles at the Barbados-flagged, U.S.-owned cargo ship True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden. A fire broke out aboard the ship as a result of the attack, causing the crew to abandon the vessel. Three crew members were killed and four others sustained serious burns from the fire. This was the first time a Houthi attack caused casualties.

Overall, the Houthis’ military campaign in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden has humiliated the U.S. Navy and its allies, who have clearly failed to secure waters near Yemen. In fact, Washington’s decision to use military force has only made the situation worse for shipping. Now, the only option left for the U.S. may be to listen to the Houthis demands and help end the war, or at least the siege on Gaza, where more than 30,000 Palestinains have been killed so far.

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