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At least 3 killed on shipping vessel in first fatal Houthi attack since start of Israel-Hamas war

At least three sailors were killed on a Barbados-flagged shipping vessel in the Gulf of Aden after the militant group launched a missile from Yemen, American and British officials said.
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At least three sailors were killed Wednesday in a Houthi attack on a Barbados-flagged shipping vessel in the Gulf of Aden, U.S. and British officials said, the first fatal attack by the group since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

"This was the sad and predictable result of the Houthis’ reckless missile launches on international shipping," the British Embassy in Yemen said on X. "They must stop."

A U.S. defense official confirmed the fatal attack, adding that four other people were injured, three of whom were in critical condition, and that the crew abandoned the Liberian-owned ship. An anti-ship ballistic missile was launched around 11:30 a.m. local time from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen and caused significant damage, the official said.

"These reckless attacks by the Houthis have not only disrupted global trade and commerce but also taken the lives of international seafarers simply doing their jobs — indeed, some of the hardest jobs in the world, and ones relied on by the global public for sustainment of supply chains," the official said.

The Yemen-based militant group said in a statement that it launched missiles on a bulk carrier, called True Confidence, "as part of the response to the American-British aggression against our country." According to the group, the vessel was targeted after "the ship’s crew ignored the Yemeni naval forces’ warning messages."

A view shows Barbados-flagged bulk carrier True Confidence, in Ravenna
The Barbados-flagged bulk carrier vessel True Confidence in Ravenna, Italy, in 2022.Dario Bonazza / via Reuters file

Houthi rebels have repeatedly attacked vessels in the country’s surrounding waters in what it has described as support for Palestinians against Israel. The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution condemning the Houthis' actions in January and noted the rights of U.N. member states to defend their vessels.

The U.S. and the U.K. ordered strikes against Houthi infrastructure both on land in Yemen and at sea shortly after the resolution passed in January, and a week later the U.S. government declared the Houthis a terrorist organization.

International officials have expressed concern that the war could escalate into a larger regional conflict as such attacks continue. Both the Houthis and Hamas, the group that launched the Oct. 7 attack on Israel that sparked the current war, are Iran-backed militias.

And Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia also supported by Iran, has been exchanging fire with Israel's military for months over the Lebanon-Israel border. The hostilities have displaced tens of thousands of civilians in both northern Israel and southern Lebanon, according to the U.N.