AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthis claimed credit on Monday for shooting two missiles at what the militia believed to be an American ship, the Star Iris, in the Red Sea, resuming assaults on ships in the critical commerce channel after a four-day lull.
Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said that their naval troops launched “a number of” anti-ship missiles at the American ship in the Red Sea, adding that their actions are both in support of Palestinians and in retaliation to US and UK bombings on Yemeni territory under their control.
The UK Maritime Trade Operations agency reported receiving a warning on Monday morning regarding an incident 40 nautical miles south of Yemen’s Mocha town in which two missiles impacted a vessel, inflicting minor damage. “Vessel and crew are safe. Vessel proceeding to next port of call,” it said in its alert.
Ambrey, a British marine security firm, identified the ship as a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greece-owned bulk carrier that was hit by Houthi missiles twice while passing through the Bab Al-Mandab Strait.
Despite the Houthis’ claims that the targeted ship was American, the ship’s information on www.marinetraffic.com, which provides up-to-date information about ship locations and movements, shows that it left Vila do Conde port in Brazil on Jan. 12 and was sailing to Iran’s Bandar Imam Khomeini port. Last week, the Houthi militia leader, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, accused US ships of flying the Marshall Islands flag to avoid attacks.
The Houthis captured a commercial ship in November and launched dozens of drones and ballistic missiles against commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, blocking the Red Sea from all Israel-linked and Israel-bound ships.
The Yemeni militia claims that their strikes are intended to force Israel to ease its embargo on Gaza and enable humanitarian aid to enter the Palestinian territory.
Since Friday, the US Central Command has claimed the destruction of 12 explosive-laden drone boats and cruise missiles planned for launch by the Houthis in Yemen.