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An armed Houthi during a demonstration in Yemen's capital Sanaa

Photo: Osamah Yahya/dpa

US forces said they destroyed seven Houthi militia cruise missiles designed to attack ships on the ground in Yemen on Friday.

The US Central Command (Centcom), which is responsible for the Middle East, said the cruise missiles of the pro-Iranian Houthis were prepared to be fired at the Red Sea.

Centcom also stated that a huge oil slick had formed around a cargo ship damaged by a Houthi attack.

The freighter “Rubymar,” loaded with 41,000 tons of fertilizer, was fired at with several rockets by the Houthis in the Gulf of Arden on Sunday.

According to Centcom, the ship is at anchor but is gradually filling up with water and has now left an oil slick that is around 29 kilometers long.

The fertilizer load is leaking into the Red Sea and "could worsen the environmental catastrophe," Centcom explained on the online service X, formerly Twitter.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia has been regularly attacking ships in the Red Sea since the war between Israel and the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas began in October.

This is why many shipping companies are now avoiding the important maritime trade route, through which twelve percent of global maritime trade is normally carried out.

The Houthis see themselves as part of the “axis of resistance” directed against Israel and supported by Iran, which includes Hamas and the Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In response to the Houthi attacks, the US and British armed forces are carrying out attacks on Islamist militias.

Germany has sent the frigate “Hessen” to the region to support this operation.

France has been present there since December 8th with the frigate “Languedoc”, which received support from the frigate “Alsace” on January 20th.