April 19, 2024

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U.S. Central Command said Sunday that Houthis launched an anti-ballistic missile toward a tanker ship that carries oil and chemicals in the Gulf of Aiden on Saturday, though it struck the water and did not cause damage to the ship or injuries to those on board.

In a post on X, U.S. Central Command said the Iranian-backed Houthis were likely targeting the M/V Torm Thor, which is flagged and owned by a U.S. company. The ship was sailing in the Gulf of Aden at the time of the incident, which was reportedly at 11:45 p.m. local time.

At about 9 p.m. that evening, U.S. Central Command forces shot down two one-way unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) over the Red Sea in self-defense.

Central Command said a third UAV was also heading toward the area and crashed from what appeared to be an in-flight failure.

US, COALITION FORCES DESTROY 6 HOUTHI ONE-WAY ATTACK DRONES

Model of Houthi missile

A protestor holds a model of a Houthi missile during a protest held against the U.S.-led airstrikes and sanctions against the Houthi group in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 16, 2024. (Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua via Getty Images)

“CENTCOM forces identified the UAVs and determined they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the U.S. Navy ships in the region,” Central Command said. “These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels.”

Houthi attacks continue to take place in the region, despite efforts from the U.S. and allies to protect merchant ships.

On Thursday, Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from southern Yemen into the Gulf of Aden, but that time, the missiles impacted the MV Islander, a Palau-flagged, U.K.-owned, cargo carrier causing one minor injury and damage.

GREEK-FLAGGED M/V SEA CHAMPION SUSTAINS MINOR DAMAGE IN HOUTHI MISSILE ATTACK 

The USS Mason on the water

The USS Mason shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile launched into the Gulf of Aden on Saturday, the U.S. Central Command said. (U.S. Central Command, @CENTCOM on X)

The attack came after the Pentagon confirmed the Houthis shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone off the coast of Yemen on Monday, marking the second such attack since November 2023.

Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists also fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles at a Greek-flagged ship headed to Yemen to deliver grain on Monday, causing minor damage, according to U.S. Central Command.

CARGO SHIP ‘TAKING IN WATER’ FOLLOWING ATTACK BY HOUTHIS IN GULF OF ADEN 

Oil tanker on fire

In this photo provided by the Indian Navy on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, a view of  the oil tanker Marlin Luanda on fire after an attack, in the Gulf of Aden. The crew aboard a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker hit by a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels is battling a fire onboard the stricken vessel sparked by the strike. (Indian Navy via AP)

Despite the minor damage on the U.S.-owned M/V Sea Champion, the ship continued on course to Aden in Yemen, where it ultimately delivered the grain for the benefit of the Yemeni people. 

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Central Command said the M/V Sea Champion has delivered humanitarian aid to the country 11 times over the past five years. 

Fox News’ Greg Norman and Liz Friden contributed to this report. 

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