Three sailors were the first fatalities of repeated attacks on commercial vessels by Yemen-based Houthi rebels, as a missile or drone attack this week against a bulker in the Gulf of Aden proved deadly.

Another 20 crew-members and three security guards on board the “True Confidence” were evacuated by an Indian navy warship to Djibouti.

The Barbados-flagged, American-owned and Cypriot-managed vessel was hit and set on fire on Wednesday as it was sailing some 50 nautical miles south of Aden.

The trio of victims were identified as two Filipino nationals and one Vietnamese citizen. Another two crew-members, both Filipinos, were seriously injured.

The Indian Navy released a video on social media showing recovery of some of the crew-members by a rescue helicopter.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels operating from Yemen have stepped up attacks of all types against commercial vessels plying the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in the wake of Hamas’ surprise terror attack in southern Israel and the IDF’s subsequent full-scale military operations in the Gaza Strip.