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Yemeni army launches barrage of missiles, drones at US vessel in Red Sea

The Yemeni military says it has fired a barrage of rockets, drones and cruise missiles targeting a US ship in the Red Sea in a “preliminary response” to a recent deadly attack by the US Navy that sank three boats and killed nearly a dozen people off the coast of the Arab country.

Spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree said in a statement on Wednesday that the country’s naval, missile and drone units took part in the “joint operation.”

He went on emphasize that the targeted US vessel was “providing support” to Israel during its war against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Saree underlined that “Yemeni forces will not hesitate to exercise the legitimate right to defend their homeland and nation, and proportionally respond to all potential threats and hostile moves.”

He noted that Yemeni forces will continue to block passage of Israeli-owned and Israel-bound ships in the Red Sea and the Arab Sea until the bloody onslaught against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip stops and the crippling siege on the coastal territory is lifted.

Yemeni Armed Forces will continue to allow all international shipping companies to sail their vessels in the waters of both seas, except for ships bound for ports in the Israeli-occupied territories, Saree pointed out.

Earlier on Wednesday, the US military said American and British forces had shot down 18 drones and three missiles launched by Yemeni forces towards shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

It was the “largest attack… to date” by the forces in the Red Sea, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

The US Navy helicopters opened fire on a group of Yemeni boats on December 31 last year, sinking three of them and killing the people on board, according to the US Central Command.

The Ansarullah resistance movement acknowledged that 10 of their fighters were killed in the confrontation and warned of consequences.

The group said in a statement the boats were performing tasks aimed at “establishing security and stability and protecting maritime navigation.”

In addition, the boats were “performing their humanitarian and moral duty… to prevent Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine from passing through the Red Sea.”

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