Houthi Aggression Ramps Up in Gulf of Aden

(TargetDailyNews.com) – The Yemeni terrorist rebels known as the Houthis sent a missile toward a U.S.-flagged oil tanker ship on February 24th, according to U.S. Central Command (Centcom). The missile didn’t find its target, instead plunging into the ocean. There were no casualties and no damage to the ship.

Centcom announced on social media that the group was probably aiming for the M/V Torm Thor, a tanker ship owned by a U.S. company. The M/V Torm Thor was sailing in the Gulf of Aden, an inlet from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea that separates Somaliland from Yemen.

The attempted missile strike occurred at 11:45 pm local time, just a few hours after Centcom-controlled troops shot two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) out of the sky in self-defense. A third UAV on its way appears to have malfunctioned and crashed before it reached Centcom forces.

The Houthi rebels, with the support of Iran, have been attacking commercial and military ships for months. U.S. ships have been trying to stand between commercial vessels and the rebels to protect the civilian traffic.

Last week the Houthi managed to hit a target—a cargo ship called the MV Islander, owned by the U.K. and flying under the flag of Palau. Reports indicate one person was injured and the ship sustained damage.

On February 19th, Houthi forces managed to take down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone just off Yemen’s coast; this was the second such successful Houthi attack on a U.S. asset since the fall of last year.

Referring to the successful shooting down of the Houthi drones on February 24th, Centcom said their goal is to “protect freedom of navigation” and to keep international waters as safe as possible for both merchant ships and the U.S. Navy. Houthi missiles and drones constitute an “imminent” threat to commercial and military ships, Centcom said.

The Torm Thor, the ship Houthis aimed at unsuccessfully is part of a U.S. effort called the Tanker Security Program. The aim is to have as many ships as possible able to deliver oil to military vessels, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

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