Yemen's Houthi rebels say they attacked U.S. warship without evidence; American official rejects claim

The Houthis have previously launched missiles that did not reach their intended target, instead crashing onto the land or sea

January 29, 2024 10:45 pm | Updated 10:45 pm IST - JERUSALEM

Image used for representative purpose only.

Image used for representative purpose only. | Photo Credit: AP

Yemen's Houthi rebels said they attacked a U.S. Navy mobile base at sea on January 29 without offering evidence, something immediately rejected by an American defence official.

Houthi military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed the group fired a missile at the USS Lewis B. Puller in the Gulf of Aden. The Puller, which serves as a floating landing base, had been earlier stationed in the Arabian Sea as part of American efforts to curtail Houthi attacks on commercial shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Comment | The stormy Red Sea, the complexities of global events 

Houthi attacks will continue “until the aggression is stopped, and the siege is lifted on the people of Palestine in the Gaza Strip,” Mr. Saree said in the statement.

A U.S. defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said there had been no reported attack on the Puller. However, the Houthis have previously launched missiles that did not reach their intended target, instead crashing onto the land or sea.

The Puller served as a mobile base for the U.S. Navy SEALs who conducted a Jan. 11 operation seizing Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components believed to be bound for Yemen. Two SEALs went missing in the operation and are presumed to have died.

Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea over Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. But they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade between Asia, the Mideast and Europe.

The Houthis hit a commercial vessel with a missile on Friday, sparking a fire that burned for hours.

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