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Solon seeks justice for Filipino sailor killed by Houthi rebels

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A party-list lawmaker representing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) condemned on Tuesday the killing of a seafarer, who was earlier reported missing following the attack of Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a cargo vessel.

In a statement, OFW party-list Rep. Marisa ‘Del Mar’ Magsino vowed to help the family of the slain sailor seek justice. She called for government agencies to coordinate with authorities to ensure that the victim’s body be given a proper burial in the Philippines.

The White House has confirmed that a Filipino sailor was killed when Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked M/V Tutor, a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk cargo carrier last week.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the bereaved family of our seafarer. The Houthi rebels have attacked cargo vessels several times and often there are Filipinos onboard,” Magsino stated in Filipino.

“It is saddening that our countrymen are always affected in these conflicts and acts of terrorism when they only want to work for their families,” she added.

With the volatility of situations in countries where OFWs are situated, Magsino vowed to push harder for her pending bills to protect our seafarers and migrant workers.

The White House confirmed the death of a Filipino sailor early Tuesday morning and also condemned the actions of Iran-backed Houthis as acts of terrorism.

The rebels have launched dozens of drone and missile strikes in the vital shipping zones of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November, describing them as retaliation for the Israel-Hamas war.

But National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Filipino seaman killed was on the M/V Tutor, a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned ship that had “nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza.”

The vessel suffered serious flooding and was abandoned after it was struck by a sea drone off rebel-held Hodeida on Wednesday, according to a security agency operated by the British navy.

Kirby also said that a Sri Lankan crew member was critically wounded in a separate Houthi attack on Thursday on the M/V Verbena, a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated ship.

“This is pure terrorism. There’s simply no other word for it. The Houthi claim of supporting Gazans is meritless,” Kirby told reporters.

He also referenced newly announced US sanctions that the State Department said will target three individuals and six entities involved in the Houthis’ weapons procurement network.

The State Department said Monday the sanctions targets “have enabled Houthi forces to generate revenue and acquire a range of materials needed to manufacture the advanced weaponry they use to conduct ongoing terrorist attacks against US and allied interests.” – With Agence France Presse

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