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Yemen’s Houthis Ramp Up Attacks on Merchant Ships After Dismantling Suspected US-Israeli Spy Network

© Photo : Ansar Allah mediaHouthi speedboat. Screengrab of Ansar Allah video.
Houthi speedboat. Screengrab of Ansar Allah video. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2024
The Yemeni militia has been targeting Israeli, US and UK-linked commercial vessels and warships operating in the Red and Arabian Seas since November 2023, vowing to continue their partial self-imposed blockade until Israel halts its campaign in Gaza, and flouting a recent attempt by Washington to bribe them into stopping their operations.
Yemen’s Houthis ramped up their attacks on commercial vessels on Tuesday, with the UK Maritime Trade Organization reporting that an unidentified merchant ship 82 nautical miles south of Aden, Yemen faced two explosions in “closest proximity” to the vessel. The vessel and its crew were unharmed.
The US military reported overnight Tuesday that it had shot down a Houthi drone over the Red Sea, and announced later in the day that the Dwight D. Eisenhower supercarrier had resumed its operations in the area after a brief port call for resupply. The American warship, deployed in the region since October 14 together with a squadron of missile destroyers, is expected to remain in there until at least “early summer,” according to US officials.
The new Houthi attacks come after a brief lull in militia activity, likely stemming from Palestinian militia group Hamas’s announcement Monday that it was ready to accept a ceasefire with Israel.
Israel declined the proposal, sparking a fresh regional escalation which besides Houthi attacks included new skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah on the Israeli-Lebanese border, and an attack by Iraqi militias targeting Israeli military bases and the Leviathan gas platform off Israel’s Mediterranean coast with drones.
In this undated photo provided by the Israeli military, Israeli armored personnel carriers are seen during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. Israeli ground forces have been operating in Gaza in recent days as Israel presses ahead with its war against Hamas militants - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2024
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The Houthis warned last week that an “aggressive military operation against Rafah” in Gaza by Israel would result in a fresh missile and drone assault by the militia.
Tuesday’s escalation follows an announcement by Houthi-affiliated media Monday that the group had uncovered and dismantled a large Israeli and US spy ring passing information to and carrying out sabotage operations in support of the two countries.
“These spies were recruited to work on collecting information and monitoring sites belonging to the Yemeni armed forces on the western coast of the Republic of Yemen for the American and Israeli enemy,” Saba News Agency reported.
The detained individuals reportedly confessed that in addition to intelligence collection, they were tasked with carrying out sabotage and assassination operations to distract the militia “from confronting the wicked US-British-Israeli trio, and from supporting the besieged Palestinian people.”

The report did not elaborate on how many suspects were detained, but unverified photos and videos shared on social media estimate it to be at least 18 people.

The Houthis “will spare no effort in carrying out their responsibility to secure the home front and protect it from infiltration attempts by the American and Israeli enemy,” the Yemeni news agency said.
A supporter of Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, with an ammunition belt placed on his head attends a celebration of Moulid al-nabi, the birth of Islam's prophet Muhammad in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.05.2024
Houthis Ready to Attack Israeli-Linked Ships in Mediterranean Sea - Military Spokesman
Houthi missile and drone attacks and ship hijackings in the Red and Arabian Seas have resulted a dramatic drop in commercial shipping activity through the strategic bodies of water, with shipbroker company Clarksons recently estimating that commercial tonnage passing through the Gulf of Aden had dropped 69 percent in April compared to what it was in December, with LNG ship transits dropping to zero, and boxship transits down 89 percent.
The militia began its campaign in November with the seizure of the Israeli-owned Galaxy Leader ro-ro car carrier, with the self-imposed blockade launched after previous Houthi attempts to pressure Israel into halting its Gaza operations, including missile and drone attacks targeting Israel directly, failed to reach their targets.
Houthi drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea have struck and damaged nearly two dozen ships and sunk one UK-owned cargo ship so far, and the militia has also shot down several US MQ-9 Reaper drones. The militia calculated last month that US and British strikes on Yemen which began in January have killed nearly 50 Yemenis. Two Filipino sailors were killed, and six sailors injured in the militia's campaign to date. The Galaxy Leader and its crew remain in Houthi custody.
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