United States issues warning of potential disaster as oil slick spreads in Red Sea following Houthi attack on ship | Latest updates on Israel’s conflict with Gaza

The US military has raised concerns about the reckless attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by an Iran-aligned group, believed to be Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The attack on the cargo ship Rubymar on February 18 resulted in an oil slick in the Red Sea, causing an environmental disaster. The ship, owned by the United Kingdom and flying the Belize flag, was hit by multiple missiles while sailing through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. The crew, fortunately unharmed, was forced to abandon the vessel. The ship is currently anchored but slowly taking on water, leading to a 29-kilometre oil slick. The military warned that the 41,000 tonnes of fertiliser on board could worsen the situation.

The Houthis have been disrupting trade in the Red Sea, demanding an end to Israel’s war on Gaza. In response to Houthi attacks, the US and the UK have been conducting airstrikes in Yemen. The US military recently carried out “self-defence strikes” on Houthi-controlled positions, destroying mobile antiship cruise missiles. The aim is to protect freedom of navigation and ensure the safety of US Navy and merchant vessels.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree claimed responsibility for attacks on an Israeli cargo ship and US warships using drones. The group has also introduced “submarine weapons” in their attacks, as confirmed by a US military report. The Houthis have reportedly recruited and trained over 200,000 new fighters since the start of the Gaza war.

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