Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed to attack a US Navy warship on Monday, a claim that was rejected by an American defense official.
Houthi military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree asserted that the group launched a missile at the USS Lewis B. Puller in the Gulf of Aden. As part of U.S. efforts to mitigate Houthi assaults on commercial shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the Puller, serving as a floating landing base, had previously been stationed in the Arabian Sea.
In the announcement, Saree stated that Houthi attacks would persist “until we stop the aggression and lift the siege on the people of Palestine in the Gaza Strip.”
A U.S. defense official, speaking anonymously to discuss intelligence matters, refuted any reported attack on the Puller. However, the Houthis have previously launched missiles that failed to reach their intended targets, instead crashing onto land or into the sea.
On January 11, the US Navy SEALs, utilizing the Puller as a mobile base, conducted an operation seizing Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components believed to be destined for Yemen. The operation presumed the death of two SEALs who went missing.
Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea over Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. However, they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, jeopardizing shipping in a critical route for global trade between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
The Houthis struck a commercial vessel with a missile on Friday, igniting a fire that raged for hours.