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Iran-backed Houthis target Greek and British cargo ships in Red Sea

Houthis lauch fresh attack in Red Sea after joint airstrikes by the US and the UK in Yemen

Related: US launches missiles towards Houthi targets in Yemen from warship

Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen fired six ballistic missiles at two ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, with one ship reporting minor damage.

A Greek-owned bulked carrier was struck by three of the projectiles fired by the Houthis on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the militants struck a British-owned cargo ship in the Red Sea.

The USS Laboon operating near the Greek ship “intercepted and shot down a third anti-ship ballistic missile fired” by the Houthis, the US Central Command said.

The Greek-owned Star Nasia was damaged by an explosion at 11.15am GMT, a Greek shipping ministry official said.

The fresh attacks come just two days after the US and the UK conducted joint airstrikes targeting Houthi bases in Yemen.

Meanwhile, the US has walked back its previous claims that it informed the Iraqi government it would be conducting airstrikes, saying that information was relayed incorrectly.

Vedant Patel, the state department spokesperson, clarified there “was not a pre-notification” but that they notified the Iraqi government “immediately after the strikes occurred”.

The US conducted retaliatory strikes on more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria on Friday, resulting in at least 39 casualties.

Following the strikes, the White House refused to rule out US action inside Iran.

On Sunday, president Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told US news networks that further military action was likely, and would not rule out the possibility of strikes inside Iran’s borders.

“I’m not going to get into what’s on the table and off the table when it comes to the American response,” he told CBS.

Mr Sullivan called the airstrikes “the beginning, not the end of our response”. However, the US has insisted that it does not want a wider conflict across the Middle East.


Video: US vessels join strikes on Iran-backed Houthis

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 06:30

Blinken returns to Mideast in push for hostage deal and postwar plan for Gaza

US secretary of state Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday on his fifth visit to the region since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, hoping to press ahead with a potential cease-fire deal and postwar planning while tamping down regional tensions.

But on all three fronts he faces major challenges: Hamas and Israel are publicly at odds over key elements of a potential truce.

Israel has dismissed US calls for a path to a Palestinian state, and Iran’s militant allies in the region have shown little sign of being deterred by US strikes.

In Gaza, meanwhile, Hamas has begun to re-emerge in some of the most devastated areas after Israeli forces pulled back, an indication that Israel’s central goal of crushing the group remains elusive.

Video footage from the same areas shows vast destruction, with nearly every building damaged or destroyed.

More here.

Blinken returns to Mideast in push for hostage deal and postwar plan for Gaza, but obstacles loom

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Saudi Arabia on his fifth visit to the region since the outbreak of the war in Gaza

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 07:00

In Pics: Houthis hold military exercise

Houthis hold military exercise amid escalating attacks on Red Sea shipping (EPA)
Houthis hold military exercise amid escalating attacks on Red Sea shipping (EPA)
Houthis hold military exercise amid escalating attacks on Red Sea shipping (EPA)
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 08:00

Antony Blinken heads to Egypt

US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Tuesday will meet president Abel Fattah El-Sisi in Egypt to hold talks seeking an “enduring end” to the crisis in Gaza.

This is Mr Blinken’s fifth visit to the Middle East since the onset of Israel’s war in Gaza, which began in October last year.

On Monday, Mr Blinken met Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed “regional coordination to achieve an enduring end to the crisis in Gaza”, said state department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Mr Miller said they spoke about the “urgent need to reduce regional tensions”.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 09:00

Yemen’s presidential council sacks prime minister

Yemen’s internationally recognised presidential council sacked the prime minister in an unexpected move that comes at a time when a US-led coalition has been striking targets of the government’s rivals, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. A decree from the council appointed foreign minister Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak the new prime minister.

Mr Bin Mubarak, who is close to Saudi Arabia, replaced Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, who was Yemen’s premier since 2018. The council didn’t give a reason behind the reshuffle. Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, when the Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 09:30

British and American vessels targeted by Houthis in Red Sea

The Iran-backed Houthis said they fired missiles at two vessels in the Red Sea overnight, causing minor damage to one cargo ship that was sailing off the coast of Yemen’s Hodeidah.

The group’s military spokesman said it fired naval missiles at the British-owed and Brabados-flagged Morning Tide along with the American Marshall Islands-flagged Star Nasia.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said just after midnight on Tuesday that it had received a report of a projectile fired at the port side of a ship located 57 nautical miles west of Hodeidah and that a small craft was seen nearby.

The projectile passed over the deck and caused slight damage to the bridge windows, but the vessel and crew were safe and proceeded on the planned passage, UKMTO added.

The owner of the Morning Tide, British firm Furadino Shipping, told Reuters the ship was currently sailing without problems, but gave no further information.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 10:00

Video: Moment RAF jets take off to conduct strikes against Houthis

Moment RAF jets take off to conduct further strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

RAF Typhoon aircraft took off to conduct further strikes against Houthi targets on Saturday, 3 February. The UK has joined the US for a third time in further strikes in a bid to prevent further attacks on international shipping along a major trade route. Strikes were against Houthi locations in Yemen involved in the campaign targeting the southern Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab, the Ministry of Defence said. Fresh assaults were “not an escalation” but were designed to “protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation” in the Red Sea, defence secretary Grant Shapps said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 10:30

Pentagon says not aware of any Iranian being killed in Middle East strikes

The Pentagon said it was not aware of any Iranian deaths in the recent US strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria.

The US launched airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday against more than 85 targets linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and militias it backs in retaliation for a deadly attack on American troops.

Air Force Major General Patrick Ryder told reporters initial indications were that the strikes did not kill any Iranians. But he said other casualties other were likely, without giving details.

“It’s fair to conclude that there likely were casualties associated with these strikes,” he said, adding that the assessment was ongoing.

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, a state security force including Iran-backed groups, said 16 of its members were killed including fighters and medics.

In Syria, the strikes killed 23 people who had been guarding the targeted locations, said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 11:59

Pics: Houthis flaunt heavy weapons during Gaza solidarity rally

An elderly Houthi fighter mans a cannon mounted on a vehicle at a rally in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (Getty Images)
A Houthi fighter carries a machine gun in front of scout team members carrying Yemeni and Palestinian flags (Getty Images)
Houthi fighters man heavy machine guns mounted on vehicles at a rally in support of Palestinians in the Gaza (Getty Images)
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar6 February 2024 12:30

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Chris Stevenson6 February 2024 12:45

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