Houthis fire missiles at two cargo ships in Red Sea, causing minor damage to one

Iran-backed group continues attacks on commercial vessels in solidarity with Gazans amid Hamas war, after US carries out defensive strikes on 2 Houthi unmanned surface vehicles

Houthi supporters attend a rally in support of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and against the US-led airstrikes on Yemen, in Sanaa, Yemen, January 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrahman)
Houthi supporters attend a rally in support of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and against the US-led airstrikes on Yemen, in Sanaa, Yemen, January 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrahman)

The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for firing missiles at two vessels in the Red Sea on Tuesday, causing minor damage to a cargo ship sailing off the coast of Yemen’s Hodeidah, continuing a months-long series of attacks on commercial vessels in what they describe as acts of solidarity with Palestinians as Israel fights Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Iran-backed group’s military spokesman said it fired naval missiles at the Morning Tide and Star Nasia, identifying the Barbados- and Marshall Islands-flagged ships as, respectively, British and American.

British maritime security firm Ambrey said a Barbados-flagged, general cargo ship owned by a British company suffered damage from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) while sailing south east through the Red Sea.

No injuries were reported. The ship performed evasive maneuvers and continued its journey, Ambrey said.

The owner of the Morning Tide, British firm Furadino Shipping, told Reuters the ship was currently sailing without problems, but gave no further information.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said just after midnight GMT on Tuesday that it had received a report of a projectile fired at the port side of a ship located 57 nautical miles west of Hodeidah and that a small craft was seen nearby.

The projectile passed over the deck and caused slight damage to the bridge windows, but the vessel and crew were safe and proceeded on the planned passage, UKMTO added.

LSEG ship-tracking data showed the Morning Tide was sailing down through the Red Sea having come through the Suez Canal on Friday. Its most recent signal shows it sailing out of the Red Sea through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

The Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping and forced firms to reroute to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa and stoked fears that the war in Gaza, sparked by Hamas’s brutal October 7 massacres, could spread to destabilize the wider Middle East.

The terror group says it is attacking commercial ships to support Gaza amid Israel’s war with Hamas, triggered by the terror group’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel.

This photo released by the Houthi Media Center shows Houthi forces boarding the cargo ship Galaxy Leader, November 19, 2023. (Houthi Media Center via AP, File)

The United States and Britain a month ago began striking Houthi targets in Yemen in retaliation for the attacks on Red Sea shipping.

The US military said its forces conducted a strike in self-defense on Monday afternoon Yemen time against two Houthi explosive unmanned surface vehicles (USV) that it said presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.

Over the weekend, the US and Britain struck 36 Houthi targets in Yemen, while an air assault Friday in Iraq and Syria targeted other Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in retaliation for a drone strike that killed three US troops in Jordan.

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