HomeTop StoriesShip previously attacked by Yemen's Houthi rebels sinks in the Red Sea

Ship previously attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels sinks in the Red Sea

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels has sunk in the Red Sea after taking on water for days, officials said Saturday. It is the first ship to be completely destroyed as part of their campaign over Israel’s war against Hamas. in the Gaza Strip.

The sinking of the Rubymar comes as shipping through the crucial waterway for cargo and energy shipments from Asia and the Middle East to Europe has been hit by Houthi attacks.

Many ships have already turned away from the route. The sinking could lead to further diversions and higher insurance rates for ships plying the waterway, potentially driving up global inflation and affecting aid shipments to the region.

The Belizean-flagged Rubymar had drifted north after being attacked on February 18 in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a crucial waterway connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government, as well as a regional military official, confirmed the ship had sunk. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as permission had not been given to speak to journalists about the incident.

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The manager of Rubymar’s Beirut was not immediately available for comment.

Yemen’s government-in-exile, which has been backed by a Saudi-led coalition since 2015, said the Rubymar sank late on Friday as stormy weather gripped the Red Sea. The ship was abandoned for twelve days after the attack, although plans were made to attempt to tow the ship to a safe port.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who claimed the ship sank almost immediately after the attack, did not immediately acknowledge the ship had sunk.

The US military’s Central Command previously warned that the ship’s cargo of fertilizer, as well as fuel leaking from the vessel, could cause ecological damage to the Red Sea.

Since November, the rebels have repeatedly attacked ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters due to the war between Israel and Hamas. Those ships include at least one carrying cargo bound for Iran, the Houthis’ main benefactor, and a relief vessel later bound for Houthi-controlled territory.

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Despite more than a month of US-led airstrikes, the Houthi rebels remain capable of carrying out significant attacks. These include the attack on the Rubymar and the downing of a US drone worth tens of millions of dollars. The Houthis insist their attacks will continue until Israel halts its combat operations in the Gaza Strip, which have angered the broader Arab world and won the Houthis international recognition.

However, in recent days there has been a decrease in the number of attacks. The reason for this remains clear.

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Associated Press writer Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.

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