US Says Houthis Fired Ballistic Missile Over Gulf Of Aden

Yemen’s Houthi militia launched a ballistic missile over the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, the US military said.

This comes as the Houthis intensified attacks on Yemeni government soldiers around the country.

The US military said in a statement on Monday morning Yemen time that at about 9:35 p.m. (Sanaa time) on Sunday, the Houthis launched one anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen over the Gulf of Aden, but neither the US-led coalition nor international commercial ships reported being hit by the missile.

“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” CENTCOM said.

The Houthis did not claim credit for any fresh assaults on Monday, but they regularly do days later.

The Houthis’ newest missile launch is part of an escalation of missile and drone strikes against commercial and navy ships in international seas near Yemen as well as in the Indian Ocean, which the Houthis claim are in support of Palestine.

The Houthis attacked dozens of ships with hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and drone boats during their campaign against ships, which started in November.

They also took control of one commercial ship and destroyed another.

The US military said on Saturday that a Greek-owned and operated oil tanker heading toward China in the Red Sea, flying the flag of Panama, barely avoided being struck by a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis.

Meanwhile, four Yemeni government troops were killed on Monday while battling the Houthis in the province of Taiz, bringing the total number of soldiers killed in Houthi attacks to 11 in less than a week.

Local media said that the government’s Nation’s Shield Forces engaged in heavy fighting with the Houthis in the Hayfan area, on the border between Taiz and Lahj provinces, that left four of its soldiers dead.

On Saturday, a soldier from the same Yemeni military unit was killed and another injured while defending their position in Haydan against a Houthi onslaught.

Six more Yemeni soldiers from the government’s Giants Brigades were killed on Saturday in fighting with the Houthis in the Al-Abadia region of Marib’s central province.

On Monday, the Houthis held a military burial procession in Sanaa for two of their troops killed while battling with Yemeni government forces.

The Houthis have organized similar funerals for hundreds of fighters who have died on the front lines ever since the UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect in April 2022.

At the same time, official media said that Yemen’s Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohsen Al-Daeri met the UN Yemen envoy’s military adviser, General Antony Hayward, in Aden on Sunday to discuss Houthi attacks on government troops across the country, peace efforts to end the war, and the smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthis.

Al-Daeri said that the Houthis had breached agreements with the Yemeni government and would continue to pose a danger to international maritime lines as long as they controlled Yemeni territory on the Red Sea.

He also accused Iran of continuing to supply weapons and military officers to the Houthis through direct journeys from Iran’s Bandar Abbas port to the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah port.

On Monday, UN experts, including Nazila Ghanea, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, urged the Houthis to release five members of the Bahai religious minority and to stop persecuting religious minorities in regions they control.

“We urge the de facto authorities to release these five individuals immediately and refrain from any further action that may jeopardize their physical and psychological integrity,” the experts said.

Armed Houthis abducted 17 Bahais, including five women, after bursting into a meeting in Sanaa a year ago, and they have refused to release them despite local and international requests.

According to the UN experts, the Houthis released 12 Bahais under “very strict conditions” after signing a written pledge not to communicate with other sect members, avoid religious activities and not leave cities without permission, and that the Houthis continue to hold five who are at risk of mistreatment by their captors.

“We are concerned that they continue to be at serious risk of torture and other human rights violations, including acts tantamount to enforced disappearance,” the UN experts said.

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