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Merchant vessel west of Yemen's Hodeidah not hit by missile as earlier reported, UKMTO and Ambrey say

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A daylight inspection showed that a merchant vessel was not hit or damaged in the Red Sea off Yemen's Hodeidah after initial reports it was struck by a missile, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and British security firm Ambrey said on Friday.

Their Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to take longer and more expensive journeys around the southern end of Africa © Mena Today 

A daylight inspection showed that a merchant vessel was not hit or damaged in the Red Sea off Yemen's Hodeidah after initial reports it was struck by a missile, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and British security firm Ambrey said on Friday.

Iran-aligned Houthi militants in Yemen have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping in the region since mid-November in professed solidarity with Palestinians against Israel's war in Gaza.

Their Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to take longer and more expensive journeys around the southern end of Africa.

UKMTO said the ship was 76 nautical miles (140 km) west of the port of Hodeidah when the incident was first reported, while a second vessel was 50 nautical miles southwest when it reported missiles flying overhead and exploding in the distance.

"The Master reported two missiles flying over the vessel and heard two loud blasts in the distance. The vessel reported no damage and the crew are reported safe. The vessel is proceeding to its next port of call," UKMTO said in an advisory note.

The United States and Britain have carried out strikes against Houthi targets in response to the attacks on shipping.

Late on Thursday, the U.S. military said Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden, and to the north, two missiles toward the Red Sea, but there were no injuries or damage reported to U.S. or coalition ships.

The U.S. military's Central Command said early on Friday it destroyed nine anti-ship missiles and two drones in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

Reporting by Muhammad Al Gebaly

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