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AL-MUKALLA: A missile apparently fired by Yemen’s Houthi militia landed near a ship on Wednesday south of Yemen’s port city of Aden, hours after the Houthis said they were deploying a new long-range missile as part of their anti-shipping campaign.

The British Maritime Trades Office said it received an alert from the ship’s captain about a missile hitting the waters near the ship, 52 miles south of Aden, adding that the ship and its crew were safe.

“The vessel is proceeding to its next port of call,” the UKMTO said in its warning, advising ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden to remain vigilant and notify authorities of any suspicious activity.

The incident in the Gulf of Aden came after the Houthis announced on Tuesday evening that they had attacked the “Israeli” ship MSC Sarah in the Arabian Sea using a newly deployed long-range missile.

According to the ship monitoring website marinetraffic.com, the MSC Sarah is a Liberian-flagged container ship sailing from Panama to the United Arab Emirates. It was seen in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday morning.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces maintained that this qualitative operation was carried out using a new ballistic missile that entered service after the successful completion of test operations. The missile is distinguished by its ability to precisely attack targets over long distances, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised statement.

The Houthis were referring to an incident reported by the UKMTO on Monday, when the ship’s captain reported an explosion that occurred nearby 246 nautical miles southeast of Nishtun, a coastal town in Yemen’s government-controlled Mahra province.

This month, the Houthis have stepped up attacks on ships in international seas off Yemen, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, issuing almost daily announcements reporting new attacks, in contrast to weekly claims of the past.

U.S. Central Command and British naval agencies make comparable statements daily about Houthi attacks on ships using drones, ballistic missiles and drones laden with explosives, as well as shooting down such weapons before they reach their intended targets.

The Houthis maintain that their actions only target Israeli-linked ships and ships bound for Israeli ports to pressure Israel to end the war in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Separately, the Yemeni government accused the Houthis of stopping four Yemenia Airways planes in Sana’a, preventing hundreds of Yemeni pilgrims from returning home.

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“The Houthis are holding four planes at Sanaa International Airport, preventing them from returning to Jeddah airport to take pilgrims to Sanaa,” the minister said. A few days ago, Yemenia reported that the Houthis were holding up one of their planes at Sanaa airport, preventing maintenance, and were also denying the airline access to Houthi bank accounts in Sanaa worth over $100 million.

At the same time, Human Rights Watch reported on Wednesday that since May 31, the Houthis have abducted and forcibly disappeared more than 60 Yemeni employees of UN agencies, missions and international organizations, denying them access to lawyers, contact with their families or receiving life-saving medicines.

Citing relatives and experts, the international human rights group said the recent Houthi crackdown is intended to divert attention from the militant group’s failure to provide basic services, put pressure on the central bank in Aden to lift sanctions on Sanaa-based banks, and taking full control of critical financial streams from the health, education and business sectors, as well as humanitarian aid agencies.

“The Houthis should immediately release all these people, many of whom have dedicated their careers to working to improve their country,” Niku Jafarnia, Yemen and Bahrain researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, calling on the international community to intervene and put pressure on the Houthis. to secure the release of abducted Yemenis.

“The international community should do everything in its power to ensure the immediate release of these individuals.”

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