May 20, 2024

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels Friday set off explosions ahead of a Singapore-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Aden, authorities said.

The attack 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,” Central Command said. “There were no injuries or damages reported.”

The Houthis did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack. A statement from Houthi military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree was delayed Friday night over “urgent military developments in the theater of military operations,” according to the rebel-controlled SABA news agency. He was scheduled to speak Saturday.

Friday’s explosions 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.

It was the first fatal strike in a campaign of assaults by the Iranian-backed group over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 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 similarly did not directly acknowledge any destruction from those strikes.

The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014. They’ve battled a Saudi-led coalition since 2015 in a long-stalemated war there. 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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