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Yemen's Houthis say they targeted American and Israeli ships

This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo) This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)
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CAIRO/DUBAI -

Houthi militants in Yemen have attacked what they said were two American ships and an Israeli vessel, the group's military spokesman said on Wednesday, the first such attack in more than two weeks.

The Iran-aligned group said it targeted the U.S. ship Maersk Yorktown, an American destroyer in the Gulf of Aden and Israeli ship MSC Veracruz in the Indian Ocean, the spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said in a televised speech.

Yemen's Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November in what they say is a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians fighting Israel in Gaza.

"The Yemeni armed forces confirm they will continue to prevent Israeli navigation or any navigation heading to the ports of occupied Palestine in the Red and Arabian Seas, as well as in the Indian Ocean," Sarea said on Wednesday.

Separately, British maritime security firm Ambrey said earlier on Wednesday that it was aware of an incident southwest of the port city of Aden, an area where the Houthis often target ships they say are linked to Israel or the United States.

The vessel reported an "explosion in the water" approximately 72 nautical miles east-southeast of Djibouti, an updated advisory from Ambrey said.

Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping through the Suez Canal, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa. The United States and Britain have launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

(Reporting by Yomna Ehab, Ahmed Tolba, Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Elimam; Editing by Michael Georgy, William Maclean and Deepa Babington)

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