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Houthi rebels claim deadly strike on cargo ship near Yemen

March 6, 2024

Three people were killed in a Houthi missile strike on a Greek-owned ship near Yemen, the US Central Command said, marking the first fatalities since the attacks started.

True Confidence' anchored at an Italian port in 2022
The 'True Confidence' ship was operated by a Greek company (file photo)Image: Dario Bonazza/REUTERS

A Houthi missile attack has left at three people dead aboard the True Confidence, a Greek-owned cargo ship, near Yemen, the US Central Command said. 

The US vowed to hold the rebels "accountable" and called on other governments to do the same.

The repeated attacks "have not just disrupted international commerce, not just disrupted the freedom of navigation in international waters, and not just endangered seafarers, but now tragically killed a number of them," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

What do we know about the attack?

In a social media statement, the CENTCOM said the Houthis attacked True Confidence with an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) at 11:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) on Wednesday. It added that this was the fifth ASBM fired by Houthis in the past two days.

The Barbados-flagged True Confidence was struck about 50 nautical miles southwest of the Aden port, setting it ablaze and adrift, its Greek operator said.

"The missile struck the vessel, and the multinational crew reports three fatalities, at least four injuries, of which three are in critical condition, and significant damage to the ship," CENTCOM added.

The crew abandoned the ship.

"These reckless attacks by the Houthis have disrupted global trade and taken the lives of international seafarers," CENTCOM said.

The ship attacks have been going on for months, with the Iran-backed Houthi milita saying they were protesting Israel's actions in Gaza. But the latest attack marks the first time deaths were reported.

"Today, the Houthis have killed innocent civilians," a US defense official told the AFP news agency. 

The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack in the Gulf of Aden.

A spokesman for the rebel militia, Yehya Saree, said the ship's crew had ignored the rebels' warnings.

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