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This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa.

This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP)

MANAMA, Bahrain — A missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels hit an Antigua- and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, the latest assault on shipping in the region.

The missile hit the ship’s forward station late Saturday, starting a fire that those on board later put out, the private security firm Ambrey said. A second missile fired at the ship missed and people “on board small boats in the vicinity opened fire on the ship during the incident,” Ambrey added, though no one was hurt onboard.

The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center similarly reported the attack and fire in the same area off Aden, saying “damage control is underway.”

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed the attack in a prerecorded video message Sunday, saying the vessel had been targeted with both missiles and drones. He identified the vessel as the Norderney, a ship that tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press showed was still in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday afternoon.

Saree also claimed unreported attacks on a warship and another vessel in the Arabian Sea, without providing any evidence to support his claim. The Houthis have exaggerated some of their attacks since launching their campaign.

The Houthis, who seized Yemen’s capital nearly a decade ago and have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since shortly after, have been targeting shipping throughout the Red Sea corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. They say the attacks are aimed at stopping the war and supporting the Palestinians, though the attacks often target vessels that have nothing to do with the conflict.

The war in Gaza has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians there, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank. It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration. A U.S.-led airstrike campaign has targeted the Houthis since January, with a series of strikes May 30 killing at least 16 people and wounding 42 others, the rebels say.

But while gaining more attention internationally, the secretive group has cracked down at dissent at home. Eleven Yemeni employees of United Nations agencies and others working for aid groups have been detained by the Houthis under unclear circumstances, as the rebels face increasing financial pressure and airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition. The rebels also recently sentenced 44 people to death.

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