Missile Attack Sets Ship Ablaze

On Monday, a ship in the Gulf of Aden was set ablaze after being hit by a missile. The incident was claimed by Houthi militants in Yemen, who stated that they were responsible for the attack.

The targeted vessel was a Liberia-flagged, Israel-affiliated container ship, according to private security firm Ambrey. The ship sustained damage and issued a distress call, but luckily, no crew members were injured.

According to Ambrey, the first explosion occurred at a distance from the ship's port quarter, followed by a second explosion that damaged the accommodation block and a container. The crew immediately began efforts to contain the fire.

The Houthi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, confirmed their involvement in the attack through a prerecorded statement. He identified the ship as the MSC Sky II, sailing for the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co. He further linked the vessel to Israel and stated that the Houthis will continue to prevent Israeli navigation in the area until the aggression against Palestinians in the ongoing conflict with Israel is stopped and the blockade on Gaza is lifted.

The Houthis have been actively targeting ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters since November, despite US-led airstrikes. They claim their attacks are in protest of Palestinians being killed in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, the group has also targeted ships with cargo bound for Iran, their main supporter, and an aid ship headed to Houthi-controlled territory.

The Houthis have been continuously conducting attacks despite more than a month and a half of airstrikes, which suggests a strong and resilient military capability. Along with targeting ships, they have also downed an American drone worth millions, showcasing their sophisticated weaponry.

Meanwhile, the recent attack in the Gulf of Aden adds to the list of disruptions in the region. Three underwater cables providing internet and telecommunication services around the world have been cut, with 25% of traffic being affected. The cables include Asia-Africa-Europe 1, the Europe India Gateway, Seacom, and TGN-Gulf. The disruptions are of concern as the Red Sea route is crucial for data flow between Asia and Europe.

HGC Global Communications, a Hong Kong-based organization, has already begun rerouting traffic to combat the disruptions. The news of the cut cables comes after the Yemeni government in exile raised concerns in early February about the Houthis planning to attack the cables.

The Houthis have denied any involvement in the disruptions and have instead blamed British and US military operations. However, they have not provided any evidence to support their allegations. The rebels have further claimed that the interruptions have jeopardized international communication and the flow of information.

It is unclear how the Houthis could attack the underwater cables themselves as they do not possess the diving or salvage capabilities required to reach the cables, which are hundreds of meters below the surface of the water. This raises questions about the validity of their claim and brings into question who could potentially be responsible for the disruptions. The incident also highlights the vulnerability of vital underwater cables and the potential impact of such attacks on global communications and trade.

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