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UK-owned ship ‘struck by rocket’ off Yemeni coast amid spiraling tensions over Gaza: Report

A photo taken on August 10, 2018 from a military plane shows a ship crossing through the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from east Africa. (By AFP)

A British-owned vessel sailing through the Red Sea has reportedly been targeted by rocket fire off Yemen's western coast, amid heightened tensions in the strategic waterway over the Israeli regime’s war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ambrey, a UK-based maritime security group, announced on Sunday that the unnamed Bahamas-flagged cargo vessel was "struck by a rocket" while sailing south around 35 nautical miles off western coast of Yemen.

“The affected vessel was issuing distress calls relating to piracy/missile attack,” the maritime security firm said, adding that “an international naval asset in the vicinity of the incident” was likely proceeding to the ship’s location.

Providing further details on the incident, Ambrey said the targeted vessel — en route from the United States to Singapore — had transited the Suez Canal five days ago.

“The bulker was reportedly struck by a rocket and the crew retreated to the citadel,” it added. “Numerous vessels passed the incident location today but no unusual maneuvers were observed.”

Ambrey said the attacked vessel’s ownership and management was linked to Dan David Ungar, a British citizen listed as an Israeli resident.

In a separate report on Sunday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency, run by Britain’s Royal Navy, claimed that it had received “a report of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) activity including a potential explosion... originating from the direction of Yemen.”

The agency said the blast took place in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that separates East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula, advising vessels in the area to “exercise caution.”

Yemen’s Armed Forces have launched a series of ballistic missiles at various sensitive targets lying across the southern part of the occupied territories in support of Palestinians since the Israeli regime waged a brutal war in Gaza in October.

Yemen’s Armed Forces and the popular Ansarullah resistance movement also warned of targeting any of the occupying regime’s ships crossing the Arab country’s territorial waters.

The Yemeni Armed Forces seized on November 19 an Israeli cargo vessel, named Galaxy Leader, in the Red Sea, in what they said was a response to the regime’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. The entire 52 crew members onboard were also detained by Yemen’s naval forces in the south of the Red Sea.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, over 15,500 Palestinians, including more than 6,500 children and 4,000 women, were killed in Israeli strikes. Many more dead are feared to be under the rubble.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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