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Vessel on fire near Yemen as Houthi threats continue despite UK-US strikes

A vessel is on fire after having been struck off the coast of Yemen as Houthi threats in the key shipping route continued despite UK and US strikes.

UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported an incident 60 nautical miles south east of Aden on Friday.

It comes after an earlier incident in which two missiles were reported to have exploded in the water and “vessel and crew are safe and no damage reported”.

The Yemeni armed forces claimed it had targeted Marlin Luanda, which it described a British oil tanker, in the Gulf of Aden.

However, shipping data suggests the vessel sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

UKMTO said authorities have been informed and are responding to the latest strike, warning other vessels to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched attacks on ships in the Red Sea since November over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

But they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, endangering shipping on a key route for global trade.

Alongside numerous air strikes on key Houthi targets, the UK and US are also targeting key figures in the Iran-backed militant group with sanctions.

A second series of UK and US air strikes, carried out at the start of the week, appears to have done little to deter Houthi action.

Earlier on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: “We continue to call on (the Houthis) to step back from such action. We’re clear that this is illegal and unacceptable.”

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron is currently finishing a trip to the Middle East, in a diplomatic bid to reduce tensions as the Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues.