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Houthi rebels launched the first fatal anti-ship ballistic missile attack just days after sinking another vessel

The M/V True Confidence.
The M/V True Confidence after it was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile.US Central Command
  • The Houthis killed three people and injured several more in an attack on a commercial ship Monday.

  • An anti-ship ballistic missile hit the True Confidence as it was transiting the Gulf of Aden.

  • It's the first time the Iran-backed rebels have caused fatalities during their attacks.

A Houthi missile strike on a commercial vessel killed three people and injured several others on Monday, marking the first time that the Iran-backed rebels have caused civilian fatalities since beginning their attacks on international shipping lanes.

The deadly incident, which represents a major escalation in the ongoing conflict, comes just days after the sinking of another commercial ship in the Red Sea — the result of a Houthi missile attack last month.

At around 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday, the Houthis fired one anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen toward the True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged and Liberian-owned bulk carrier, as it was transiting the Gulf of Aden, US Central Command, or CENTCOM, said in a statement.

The missile hit the ship, killing three members of its multinational crew and injuring at least four others — three of which are currently in critical condition, CENTCOM said, adding that the vessel also suffered "significant" damage.

The M/V True Confidence.
The M/V True Confidence after it was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile.US Central Command

"The crew abandoned the ship and coalition warships responded and are assessing the situation," CENTCOM said. "These reckless attacks by the Houthis have disrupted global trade and taken the lives of international seafarers."

Until now, the Houthis had yet to kill anyone as part of their months-long campaign of missile and drone attacks on international shipping lanes off the coast of Yemen, but the rebels had successfully managed to hit a handful of commercial vessels.

Monday's incident also marks the first ever fatal anti-ship ballistic missile attack . The Houthi rebels began employing these weapons in combat— something no one else had ever done — in late 2023.

The Houthis have fired five anti-ship ballistic missiles over the past two days alone. Two of these weapons have gone on to hit commercial ships — the M/V MSC Sky II on Monday and the M/V True Confidence on Wednesday — while the others were either shot down by US forces or landed in the water.

The Marshall Islands-flagged, Bermuda-owned M/V Marlin Luanda after it was hit with an anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden last month.
The Marshall Islands-flagged, Bermuda-owned M/V Marlin Luanda after it was hit with an anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden in January.Screengrab/US Central Command

Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesperson, said Wednesday's deadly incident was "sadly inevitable."

"The Houthis have continued to launch these reckless attacks with no regard for the well-being of innocent civilians who are transiting through the Red Sea," he told reporters at a briefing. "And now they have, unfortunately and tragically, killed innocent civilians."

"So we will continue to hold them accountable, and we call on governments around the world to do the same," Miller added.

The fatal attack, meanwhile, comes just days after the sinking of the Rubymar, a commercial vessel that was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile while it was transiting the Red Sea in mid-February.

Because the ship was carrying thousands of metric tons of fertilizer, it now presents an "environmental risk" in the Red Sea, as well as a "subsurface impact risk" to other ships transiting the region, according to CENTCOM.

Read the original article on Business Insider