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US-owned cargo ship targeted with anti-ship ballistic missile off Yemen coast

Cargo ship Gibraltar Eagle is seen in a port in Belgium on July 20, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

A US-owned cargo ship has been targeted by a missile off the coast of Yemen, amid heightened tensions in the Red Sea over Washington’s unrelenting support for the Israeli genocidal war against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement on Monday that the US-owned and -operated dry bulk ship Gibraltar Eagle had been struck with an anti-ship ballistic missile.

The vessel's US-based operator Eagle Bulk Shipping said that it was hit by an "unidentified projectile" while sailing 100 miles off the Gulf of Aden and suffered limited damage to its cargo hold, but no seafarers were injured.

"As a result of the impact, the vessel suffered limited damage to a cargo hold but is stable and is heading out of the area," Eagle Bulk said, adding that it was carrying a cargo of steel products.

Meanwhile, Yemeni Armed Forces in a statement confirmed the attack on the US vessel.

"The Yemeni Armed Forces' Navy, with the help of Allah Almighty, carried out a military operation targeting an American ship in the Gulf of Aden, using a number of suitable naval missiles, achieving a precise and direct hit," read part of the statement. 

The statement added that the attack was "in support of the oppressed Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, who are still subjected to the worst kinds of massacres by the Zionist entity, and in response to the American-British aggression on our country."

Earlier in the day, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a British security agency and maritime risk company, reported on its website that a US-owned vessel had been “hit from above by a missile," without providing further details.

The ship was reportedly en route to the Israeli-occupied territories, with the agency linking the attack to the US and UK raids on Yemen last week.

Since the start of the Israeli aggression on Gaza in early October, the United States and its Western allies have been providing financial and logistical support to the occupying regime in its ceaseless bombardment campaign against Palestinians in the besieged territory.

As part of support for the Palestinians, Yemen's Armed Forces and popular Anasrullah resistance movement have over the past month targeted several Israeli-owned and -bound ships in the strategic Red Sea after multiple warnings.

On Friday, the US and British warplanes targeted five regions of Yemen with 73 missiles, including the capital Sana'a, killing at least five people and wounding six others.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, said the United States and the United Kingdom bear full responsibility for the “criminal aggression,” and the attack against the country would not go “unanswered and unpunished.”

Yemenis have declared their open support for Palestine’s struggle against the Israeli occupation since the regime launched a devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance movements carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed more than 24,000 people, most of them women and children, and left over 60,000 others injured.

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

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