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Naval attacks continue

Морските атаки продължават

Maritime security organizations reported a drone strike late Thursday on a cargo ship in the Red Sea, the latest in a series of attacks as Iran-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen disrupt maritime traffic in the region.

The UK Maritime Merchant Operations Agency (UKMTO) said an employee from the ship reported being hit by a drone "resulting in superficial damage to the accommodation superstructure".

The UKMTO report said the incident occurred about 110 kilometers north of Djibouti and that the crew was safe and the ship was traveling to its next port.

British maritime security firm Ambrey reported a raid in the same area, identifying the vessel as a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier.

In another attack on Monday, the US-flagged Greek-flagged bulk carrier Sea Champion said it was hit twice by missiles, one causing minor damage to the ship and the other landing in nearby water. The ship was carrying grain from Argentina to the Yemeni port of Aden.

UKMTO said the attack, which took place about 185 kilometers east of Aden, left "evidence of shrapnel and paint damage". There are no reports of casualties.

The U.S. military said the crew of a third ship that was hit late Sunday by two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-held territory in Yemen abandoned ship and were taken to a nearby port by a merchant ship.

The Belizean-flagged and UK-owned ship Rubymar signaled for help after being attacked, and a US coalition warship responded immediately, along with another merchant ship, to render assistance.

Security firm LSS-SAPU, which is in charge of Rubymar's safety, told Reuters the ship had started to fill with water.

A Houthi spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they fired "multiple rockets" at Rubymar.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping in the region since November, with some carriers already avoiding the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a key passage to the Suez Canal. Instead, some cargo companies send their ships an additional 6,400 kilometers around Africa, increasing the cost of shipping and adding about 10 days of travel time each way.

The Houthis said their attacks were in solidarity with the Palestinians amid the war in Gaza.

The US and British military have intercepted some of the Houthi attacks while striking Houthi targets in Yemen.

The European Union announced Monday that it is launching its own naval mission to protect shipping in the Red Sea.

"Europe will ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea by working together with our international partners," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a statement.

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