Houthi Rebels Claim to Have Attacked U.S. Navy Sea Base USS Puller
The U.S. military has denied claims of a Houthi missile attack on the sea base USS Lewis B. Puller, a special-ops platform currently operating off Yemen.
"In vindication to the oppressed people of Palestine, and within the response to the American-British aggression against our country . . . [Houthi forces] have launched a suitable naval missile towards the US Naval 'Lwis B Puller' vessel [sic] in the gulf of Aden," said Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree in a social media statement Monday. "The burning of Israeli, American and British ships will continue until the blockade on Gaza ends."
A U.S. official denied that the Puller had been attacked by Houthi missiles and said that there had been no reported attempt.
Saree noted that the Puller has been involved in supporting U.S. military operations against Houthi interests. The vessel was the platform used to launch the ill-fated boarding of a dhow off Somalia on January 11. This action resulted in the seizure of Iranian-made missile components, according to defense officials, but it cost two U.S. Navy SEALs their lives.
Over the past three months, Yemen's Houthi rebels have repeatedly attacked merchant ships and naval vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Just last Friday, the group targeted and hit the LR2 tanker Marlin Luanda, which was under charter to Trafigura and carrying a cargo of Russian naphtha. One cargo tank was ruptured in the strike, and the resulting fire took a day to put out.
In November, the group seized a car carrier, the Galaxy Leader, as it transited the Red Sea. The vessel remains anchored under guard near Hodeidah. Negotiations over the release of the ship's crew are under way.