World News

Authorities said early on Wednesday that a bulk carrier, the second of its kind to be sunk in the rebel campaign, had sunk days after an attack by Houthi rebels in Yemen that was thought to have killed one mariner on board.

The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, appear to be stepping up their campaign to target commerce through the crucial maritime corridor over the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip, as seen by the sinking of the Tutor in the Red Sea.

The strike occurs in the midst of a months-long, US-led campaign in the area that has seen the Navy engage in its most intense maritime combat since World War II, with attacks on warships and commercial ships occurring almost every day.

The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations centre in the Red Sea was destroyed by the Greek-owned and -operated Tutor, flying the Liberian flag.

About a week ago, a Houthi drone boat carrying bombs attacked the Tutor in the Red Sea. A spokesman for national security at the White House, John Kirby, stated on Monday that “a crew member who hailed from the Philippines” was killed in the incident. The man who was on board the Tutor has been missing for more than a week in the Red Sea, which experiences extreme summer temperatures, however the Philippines has not yet confirmed the death.

The use of an explosives-laden boat evoked memories of the USS Cole massacre in 2000, in which al-Qaida carried out a suicide attack on the warship while it was docked in Aden, killing seventeen people on board. Currently, the aircraft carrier USS is leading a U.S. Navy operation that includes the Cole.

Four sailors have been killed by the Houthis in more than 50 strikes on ships. The U.S. Maritime Administration reports that since November, they have detained one vessel and sunk two others. Since January, the Houthis have been the subject of an airstrike campaign spearheaded by the United States. According to the rebels, a series of strikes on May 30 left at least 16 dead and 42 wounded.

Following a rebel attack, the Rubymar, flying the flag of Belize, took on water for many days and eventually sank in the Red Sea in March, carrying a cargo of fertiliser.

The Houthis have persisted in attacking ships associated with the United States, the United Kingdom, or Israel. Nevertheless, there is little to no relationship between many of the ships they have attacked and the present Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Gaza conflict has claimed the lives of almost 37,000 Palestinians.

According to a recent assessment by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, since December, the number of containers shipped through the Red Sea has decreased by 90% due to the attacks. That route is used by up to 15% of all marine traffic worldwide.

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