Yemen’s Houthis target US-linked ship with missiles
A Houthi military spokesman reiterated the threat that attacks from Yemen will persist until Israel halts its war in Gaza.
Houthi fighters have fired on a ship that they identified as United States-owned while it travelled in waters off Yemen.
The Iran-linked armed group said on Monday that the Star Iris was targeted with “a number of suitable naval missiles” in “accurate and direct” strikes. The Houthis have attacked numerous ships in the Red Sea in recent months, disrupting the key trade route between Europe and Asia, and called for an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
Yahya Saree, the Houthis military spokesman said that the strike on the vessel, owned by the US-listed, Greece-based firm Star Bulk Carriers Corp, came “in vindication of the oppressed Palestinian people, in support and solidarity with our brothers in the Gaza Strip”.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) confirmed that a vessel was attacked by two missiles at 00:35 GMT some 40 nautical miles (74km) south of al-Makha (Mocha) in Yemen.
“The crew are reported safe and the vessel is proceeding to next port of call,” it said, advising transit through waters near Yemen with caution.
— United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) (@UK_MTO) February 12, 2024
Saree also called the attack “retaliation to the American-British aggression on our country”. In recent weeks, the US and UK have responded to the ongoing attacks on maritime traffic by launching strikes on Houthi-held Yemeni territory.
However, the Houthis appear undeterred. The spokesman reiterated that the group intends to continue to target vessels in the Red Sea until the war ends.
The latest Houthi attack comes less than two days after the latest “self-defence strikes” by the US military, which has been pounding Yemen with munitions launched from aircraft and warships near Yemen.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday that its newest attacks a day earlier had targeted two unmanned surface vessels and three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles.