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Yemen: Houthis Allegedly Target ‘US Ship Pinocchio’ As US-British Airstrikes Kill 11

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis targeted what was described as the “US ship Pinocchio” in the Red Sea with missiles, according to a speech by the group’s military spokesperson, televised early on Tuesday.

According to public databases operated by Equasis and the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Pinocchio is a Liberian-flagged container ship that is owned by Singapore-registered company Om-Mar 5 Inc.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the group will escalate their military operations in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in solidarity with Palestinians during the war in Gaza.

Houthis’ Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to reroute to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa, and stoked fears that the Israel-Gaza war could spread to destabilise the wider Middle East.

On Monday, airstrikes attributed to a US-British coalition hit port cities and small towns in western Yemen, killing at least 11 people and injuring 14 while defending commercial shipping, a spokesperson for Yemen’s internationally recognised government told Reuters.

At least 17 airstrikes were reported in the country, including in the principal port city of Hodeidah and at Ras Issa Port, according to Al Masirah, the main Houthi-run television news outlet.

The strikes come just days after the first civilian fatalities and vessel loss since the Iran-aligned Houthis began attacking commercial shipping in November in solidarity with the Palestinians under attack by Israel.

The US and Britain have launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen and redesignated the militia as a terrorist group.

Despite reprisals from the US-British coalition and other navies, the Houthis have escalated their campaign of attacks on commercial vessels in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

The Houthis killed three crew of the Barbados-flagged, Greek-operated True Confidence on Wednesday in an attack off the port of Aden.

That came days after the sinking of the cargo ship Rubymar, which went down about two weeks after being hit by a Houthi missile on 18 February.

Many ships are now making the longer, more expensive trip around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to avoid the dangerous route through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to the Suez Canal – sharply raising shipping costs.

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