OAN’s Brooke Mallory
10:51 AM – Monday, January 15, 2024
United States Central Command said in a statement that a cargo ship owned and operated by the U.S. was hit by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile on Monday.
The attack against the Gibraltar Eagle appears to be the first time the Houthis have successfully attacked a U.S.-owned or operated ship, upping the stakes in the Red Sea after the U.S. pledged that further Houthi launches would be met with a violent, retaliatory response.
It happened only a few days after a coalition led by the U.S. launched strikes in Yemen against the rebel group, which is supported by Iran, and issued a warning that further strikes would be necessary if the Houthi onslaught persisted.
According to Central Command, the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a bulk carrier flying the flag of the Marshall Islands, which is owned by American company Eagle Bulk, suffered minor damages, but no injuries were reported on board.
The Gibraltar Eagle, transporting a load of steel goods, was struck “by an unidentified projectile” around 100 miles offshore in the Gulf of Aden, according to a statement released by Eagle Bulk Shipping on Monday.
“As a result of the impact, the vessel suffered limited damage to a cargo hold but is stable and is heading out of the area,” the statement read. “All seafarers onboard the vessel are confirmed to be uninjured.”
The event was also reported to the UKMTO, the maritime security agency of the United Kingdom.
According to Eagle Bulk Shipping, “close contact with all relevant authorities” was maintained.
“Vessels are advised to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity to UKMTO,” the maritime security agency stated.
However, the Gibraltar Eagle strike on Monday is not 100% officially attributed to the Houthis, as they have not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Biden administration said that the U.S. will protect its interests and assets in the area after U.S.-led attacks on Thursday utilized more than 150 precision guided missiles on almost 30 locations in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen. After warning the Houthis repeatedly, the U.S. labeled the strikes as a last-resort measure, maintaining that U.S. officials were working to stop the situation from becoming worse.
“We will stand fully prepared to defend ourselves and defend that shipping, if it comes to it,” said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council.
The Houthis have since vowed to strike back, declaring that any asset in the U.S. or the U.K. would be a “legitimate target.” Since mid-November, the Houthis have conducted nearly 30 strikes on international maritime lines, prompting many large shipping corporations worldwide to steer clear of the Red Sea, one of the most important waterways in the world.
According to Central Command, the Houthis attempted to launch an anti-ship ballistic missile earlier on Monday as well, but was unsuccessful.
The U.K.-based security organization Ambrey stated that a total of three missiles were launched toward the Red Sea on Monday. According to the organization, two of the three missiles missed their target, and the third struck a vessel that was owned and controlled by the U.S.
In order to prevent the organization from firing upon international trade lines in the Red Sea, the U.S. and the U.K. struck 28 different Houthi locations last Thursday. Australia, Bahrain, the Netherlands, and Canada also supported both the U.S. and U.K in their retaliatory efforts.
The military spokesman for the Houthi rebels, Yahya Sare’e, declared on Friday that the group will keep attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea until a “full cease-fire” is initiated in Gaza.
On December 29th, Sare’e condemned the efforts of the U.S. and Israel for both nations’ retaliatory efforts in combating Hamas terrorists in the Gaza strip, who have killed over 1,200 and abducted hundreds from Israel since October 7th.
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