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Two ships targeted off the coast of Yemen, security firm says

No group has claimed reponsibility after three incidents targeting shipping in 24 hours
This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies on 2 March 2024 and dated March 1, shows the Belize-flagged cargo ship Rubymar, damaged in a February 19 missile strike claimed by the Iran-backed Houthis (AFP)

Two ships were targeted off the coast of Yemen, a security firm said on Sunday.

British maritime security firm Ambrey said "a vessel was targeted... southwest of Mukalla", a Yemeni port city, raising the number of incidents reported over the past 24 hours to three.

Earlier on Sunday, Ambrey said a projectile also fell near a ship southwest of the Yemeni port of Aden. British security agency UK Maritime Trade Operations said that a "missile impacted the water in close proximity" to the ship.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the incidents, but Yemen's Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, have in recent months been targeting ships in local waters in an attempt to pressure Israel over its assault on Gaza.

One of the Houthis' first acts in November was the seizure by helicopter of the Galaxy Leader, a Bahamas-flagged commercial vessel owned by Israeli business tycoon Rami Ungar.

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Since then, the Houthis have broadened their attacks from vessels linked to Israel to commercial and military ships with any ties to the US and UK, in response to US-led air strikes against the group.

According to the International Monetary Fund, container shipping through the Red Sea dropped by around one-third in the first week of 2024 compared with the same period last year as shipping companies avoided the Suez Canal.

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