Ship struck by Houthi missiles was carrying grain to Iran

A Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier that came under attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels earlier this week had a cargo of grain bound for Iran, the group’s main benefactor, authorities say.

Initially after the attack, the Laax had listed its destination as Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. On Thursday, however, its listed destination instead appeared to be Bandar Khomeini, Iran.

A statement released by French naval forces based in the UAE that patrol the Middle East also identifies the vessel’s grain shipment as being bound for Iran. It says a team from Djibouti had inspected the damage caused by the attack, which it said involved both drones and missiles, and found no remaining dangerous explosives onboard the ship.

Images released by the French navy show damage both at the waterline of the vessel and on its deck.

Tuesday’s attack saw five missiles hit the Laax during the hourslong assault, the private security firm LSS-SAPU tells The Associated Press. LSS-SAPU, which earlier helped evacuate mariners from the Houthi-attacked Rubymar that later sank, says there had been no prior warning by radio from the Houthis.

This is the second time that the Houthis have hit a ship bound for Iran after a similar incident in February. At the time, the rebel group was seen as trying to broadcast its independence from Tehran.

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