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Escalation in the Red Sea after Huthi attack

Caption: 190301-N-OW019-1271 The US destroyer "USS Chung-Hoo" guides a cargo ship through the Red Sea (© Archivbild US Navy)

The confrontation with the Yemeni Huthi rebels in the Red Sea is coming to a head. A deadly battle broke out on Sunday.

The Huthi had previously attacked a Maersk container ship with boats and attempted to board it. US Navy combat helicopters rushed to help, sinking three out of four of the attacking boats and killing their crews. [ds_preview]

The shipping company Maersk announced yesterday, Monday, that it would again suspend its traffic through the Red Sea for 48 hours. At least 17 ships are said to be affected.

Houthi attack damages “Maersk Hangzhou”

A fire broke out on the “Maersk Hangzhou” (built in 2018, 15,282 TEU) after a missile hit, but it was extinguished. According to reports, there were no injuries on board the Singapore-flagged ship.

According to diplomatic circles in the Pentagon, there are increasing calls for a military strike against the Huthi in Yemen. American pressure on Iran, which is backing the rebels financially and militarily, is also increasing.

At the weekend, the commander of the US Navy in the Middle East, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, was quoted as saying that despite the US-led naval coalition, there were no signs of the Huthi ceasing their attacks on merchant ships.

Is the US military planning a counter-attack against the Huthi?

The Houthi group, which controls parts of Yemen after years of war, began attacking international ships in the Red Sea in November, citing Israel’s attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip as justification.

Major shipping companies, including the container shipping companies Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, then stopped using the routes via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal and instead switched to a longer voyage around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope. Only after the start of an international military operation in the crisis region did Maersk prepare to return its ships to the Red Sea.

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