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Conflict tensions from the Gaza Strip spread to the Red Sea

Dec 05, 2023

Tel Aviv [Israe], December 5: The latest attacks on a series of ships in the Red Sea mark a dangerous escalation in waters in the Middle East, stemming from the Hamas-Israel conflict.
The US military said yesterday that a warship of this country shot down 3 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in self-defense, and also rescued 3 commercial ships attacked by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. Houthi, a military-political organization in Yemen backed by Iran, announced two of the attacks, according to AP.
Many ships were attacked at the same time
The US military 's Central Command (CENTCOM) said the attacks began at about 9:15 a.m. on December 3 (Yemen local time) and lasted for many hours. According to CENTCOM, the US destroyer USS Carney detected a ballistic missile fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen aimed at the Bahamas-flagged cargo ship Unity Explorer, but the missile did not hit the target.
Immediately afterwards, the Carney ship shot down a UAV flying towards it, although it was unclear whether the US destroyer was the target of this UAV or not. About 30 minutes later, the Unity Explorer was hit by a missile and slightly damaged. While responding to this ship's call for help, the Carney intercepted another incoming UAV.
Two other cargo ships, Number 9 and Sophie II, both under the Panamanian flag, were also hit by missiles. CENTCOM said ship Number 9 reported some damage but no casualties and ship Sophie II reported no significant damage. While going to support the Sophie II ship in the late afternoon of December 3, the Carney ship shot down a third UAV heading towards it.
"These attacks are a direct threat to international trade and maritime security... We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while carried out by the Houthi forces in Yemen, but was fully facilitated by Iran," AFP quoted CENTCOM's statement. Also according to the statement, the US will "consider all appropriate responses" following the latest developments.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree admitted that this force attacked two ships, Unity Explorer and Number 9, which they believed were related to Israel, in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, but did not refers to any American warship. Mr. Saree also warned that Israeli or Israeli-related ships "will become legitimate targets if they violate what is stated in this declaration."
Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari denied that the Unity Explorer and Number 9 ships were related to the Israeli state, according to Reuters.
Sea front
Maritime transport has become a target of attack amid the risk of the Hamas-Israel conflict turning into a larger war in the Middle East. The collapse of the ceasefire agreement and Israel's recent expansion of its military campaign to the entire Gaza Strip have increased the possibility of fighting spreading to the maritime front.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, the Houthis have carried out a series of attacks against ships in the Red Sea. In November, the Houthis seized a ship carrying vehicles linked to Israel and the force still holds the ship in Yemen. Missiles also landed near another US warship last week after it rescued an Israel-related ship captured by the Houthis. Additionally, a container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire was recently attacked by suspected Iranian UAVs in the Indian Ocean.
Iran openly supports the Houthis but denies providing weapons or training to this force. Tehran did not immediately comment directly on the latest attacks in the Red Sea, but Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that "if the current situation continues, the region will enter a new phase" of conflict. Hamas - Israel conflict, according to AP.
Source: ThanhNien Newspaper