Recent Explosion Near Bab el-Mandeb Strait


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Reports from a ship near the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait suggested a possible explosion in the distance on Wednesday, potentially indicating a new attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The strait, situated between Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, serves as a vital waterway connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean, crucial for international trade and aid.

Details of the Incident

Details of the Incident

The blast occurred approximately 130km southeast of Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Centre received the report, stating that the master of a merchant vessel witnessed the explosion from a distance and confirmed the safety of the vessel and crew. Investigations into the incident are currently underway.

The private maritime security firm Ambrey also corroborated the occurrence of the explosion, although the Houthis, known for such attacks, did not immediately claim responsibility. The group usually takes some time before acknowledging their involvement in such assaults.

The Houthis have been responsible for more than 50 attacks on shipping since November, seizing one vessel and sinking another, as per the US Maritime Administration. This has led to a decline in shipping activities through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden due to the persistent threat posed by the rebels.

Despite a recent decrease in Houthi attacks, attributed to a US-led airstrike campaign in Yemen and potential shortages of weapons, the rebels have vowed to continue their assaults until Israel ceases its military operations in Gaza, which have resulted in significant civilian casualties.

The ongoing conflict between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis, who belong to the minority Shiite Zaydi sect, has created a protracted stalemate since 2015. The rebels, who seized control of Sanaa in late 2014, have escalated their maritime attacks, garnering international attention and raising concerns about the security of the region.

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