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Explosion reported near commercial ship off Yemen coast

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Aden (Yemen), March 12

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) has issued a warning after receiving a report of an explosion in the vicinity of a commercial ship transiting off the coast of Yemen.

According to the report from the UKMTO released on Monday, the master of the unnamed ship reported hearing the sound of an explosion nearly 71 nautical miles southwest of the port city of Saleef in Yemen.

While the ship and crew are reported to be safe, the cause of the explosion remains unknown at this time. The US-led coalition forces operating in the region have launched an investigation into the incident, Xinhua news agency reported.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident yet.

Since November, the Houthis have increasingly targeted commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, which they claim is in retaliation for Israeli strikes in Gaza.

In response, the US and Britain launched air and missile strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen starting in mid-January. However, rather than deterring or degrading the rebels’ capabilities, these strikes appear to have prompted further escalation from the Houthi forces.

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