Houthis claim hits on 4 ships in Mediterranean, Red Sea amid contradicting reports

British maritime body says Liberia-flagged vessel not damaged despite claim of ‘direct hit’; US military destroys 7 drones, ground control station vehicle operated by Yemeni terrorists

Houthi supporters attend anti-Israel and anti-US protests in Sanaa, Yemen, June 14, 2024. (AP/Osamah Abdulrahman)
Houthi supporters attend anti-Israel and anti-US protests in Sanaa, Yemen, June 14, 2024. (AP/Osamah Abdulrahman)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Friday claimed responsibility for attacking a Liberia-flagged vessel in the Red Sea that a maritime agency said had survived five missiles, while also saying they targeted three other vessels including two in the Mediterranean.

The Iran-aligned Houthis say their attacks on shipping lanes are in solidarity with Palestinians in the ongoing war in Gaza, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel.

Yahya Saree, the Houthi military spokesperson, said in a televised statement that the group launched ballistic missiles at the Delonix, an oil tanker, and that it took a “direct hit.”

However, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) monitor said earlier in the day that the ship, which was targeted 150 nautical miles (172 miles) northwest of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, reported no damage and was heading northward.

The Houthis have exaggerated their claims in the past. The rebels have targeted more than 60 vessels by firing missiles and drones in their campaign, which has killed a total of four sailors. They seized one vessel and sank two since November.

Saree also said the Houthis attacked the Ioannis ship in the Red Sea, as well as the Waler oil tanker and the Johannes Maersk vessel in the Mediterranean.

Illustrative: A Maersk container ship at Aqaba, Jordan, on the Red Sea on October 3, 2019. (eugenesergeev/iStock by Getty Images)

He said the Johannes Maersk, which is owned by Maersk, the world’s second-largest container carrier, was targeted because it belongs to “one of the most supportive companies for the Zionist entity and the most that violates ban decision of access to the ports of occupied Palestine.”

Twice this month, the group claimed to have launched joint military operations with the Iraqi Islamic Resistance against ships in Haifa, though there were no reports of an incident at the Mediterranean port city.

Also Friday, the United States military said that it destroyed seven Houthi drones and one ground control station vehicle in Houthi-controlled Yemen.

International shipping has been disrupted since November by attacks in the region launched by the Houthis. Many vessels have opted to avoid the Red Sea route to the Suez Canal, taking the longer journey around the southern tip of Africa instead.

The US is spearheading a naval coalition to protect vessels in the vital waterway, and has also conducted air strikes in Houthi territory, both on its own and alongside Britain.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report. 

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