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14 June, 2024
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Houthi rebels launch anti-ship missile at US destroyer in Red Sea

Biden vows response to Red Sea attack on American destroyer


Yemen's Houthi rebels fired an anti-ship cruise missile at the USS Laboon, an American destroyer in the Red Sea. The missile was shot down by a U.S. fighter jet in the latest attack unsettling global shipping.

According to a report on ABC News, this marks the first U.S.-acknowledged fire by the Houthis since the commencement of strikes by the U.S. and allied nations against the rebels. The attacks have been escalating following weeks of assaults on shipping in the Red Sea.

The Houthis, an Iranian-backed Shiite rebel group that seized Yemen's capital in 2014, have been targeting the crucial corridor connecting Asian and Mideast energy and cargo shipments. This corridor leads to the Suez Canal, onward to Europe, and the attacks threaten to expand the conflict into a regional conflagration.

Despite the threat, the Houthis have not immediately acknowledged their involvement in the latest attack. President Joe Biden has indicated a willingness to take further measures to protect international commerce.

The missile was fired from Hodeida, a Red Sea port city held by the Houthis. Fortunately, there were no injuries or reported damage on the USS Laboon.

U.S.-led strikes on Friday hit 28 locations and over 60 targets, including weapon depots, radars, and command centers. The extent of damage inflicted on the rebels is yet to be acknowledged by the Houthis. Shipping through the Red Sea has slowed due to the attacks, prompting the U.S. Navy to caution American-flagged vessels to steer clear of Yemen's areas in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis have previously targeted ships in the Red Sea, citing retaliation for Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. However, these attacks have often targeted vessels with tenuous or unclear links to Israel, posing a threat to global trade.

The Red Sea strikes have raised concerns about escalating tensions in the Middle East, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warning of the sea becoming a battlefield. The Biden administration, along with its allies, has sought to calm tensions in the region, but the situation remains precarious.

As the maritime tensions escalate, the conflict threatens to draw in regional players, with Saudi Arabia seeking to distance itself from the attacks on Houthi sites.

The complex dynamics involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. add to the challenges in maintaining stability in the region. The U.S. military, while not specifically confirming the target, has awarded combat ribbons to sailors in the Red Sea, indicating active hostilities with the Houthi forces.

[With information sourced from ABC News]

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