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Houthi missile hits US-owned vessel off Yemen

Houthi rebels in Yemen fired an anti-ship ballistic missile on Monday, hitting a U.S.-owned container ship, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

There were no injuries and no significant damage to the ship, the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, which is a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned and operated container ship, U.S. Central Command said.

The attack is the latest in a series of clashes with the Iranian-backed militant group in Yemen.

President Biden authorized strikes last week against the group, which has repeatedly attacked ships in the Red Sea, threatening global trade. The Houthi actions and the U.S. response have triggered worries about a wider Middle Eastern war as Israeli attacks on Hamas in Gaza continue.

The U.S. Central Command said on Monday that U.S. forces detected an anti-ship ballistic missile headed toward the Southern Red Sea commercial shipping lanes, but the missile “failed in flight and impacted on land in Yemen.” No injuries or damage were reported from the incident.

The latest escalation comes after the U.S. and allied nations conducted a coordinated attack against the rebel group last Thursday. The militant group claimed the U.S.-led attacks earlier Thursday killed at least five people and wounded six others.

In response, the Houthis launched one of their largest attacks yet, firing a barrage of rockets and missiles at the U.S. and U.K. forces in the Red Sea.

On Friday, the U.S. conducted a second round of strikes against a Houthi radar facility in Yemen and threatened further military actions unless the Houthis stopped attacking commercial ships.

On Sunday, Houthi rebels similarly tried to target the USS Laboon in the southern Red Sea, officials said, but a U.S. fighter aircraft shot it down near the coast of Hudayah, Yemen. There were no injuries or damage, the U.S. Central Command said Sunday.

The Houthis claim the attacks, which began in late November, serve as a protest against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. Many ships with no clear ties to Israel have been hit, however.

Major shipping companies have been forced to avoid the Red Sea region, driving up oil prices and delaying delivery times.

The U.S. launched “Operation Prosperity Guardian” last month to deter the attacks, which the U.S. Central Command said last week total at least 28 incidents since Nov. 29.

Updated at 12:28 p.m.

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