Ballistic Missiles Fired By Yemen's Houthi Rebels Damage Panama-Flagged Oil Tanker In Red Sea

This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Ballistic missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels caused “minor damage” to a Panama-flagged oil tanker traveling through the Red Sea on Friday, authorities said.

The attack follows an uptick in assaults launched by the Houthis in recent days after a relative lull in their monthslong campaign over Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The rebels fired three missiles in the attack, one of which damaged the Panama-flagged, Seychelles-registered Andromeda Star, the U.S. military's Central Command said. The private security firm Ambrey described the tanker as being “engaged in Russia-linked trade.” The vessel was traveling from Primorsk, Russia, to Vadinar, India, Ambrey said.

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree later claimed the attack early Saturday in a prerecorded statement aired by the rebels. He described the tanker as being “directly hit.”

Another vessel, the Antiqua-Barbados-flagged, Liberia-operated Maisha, was also nearby at the time of the assault, the U.S. said. The attack occurred off Mocha, Yemen, near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sank another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Houthi attacks have dropped in recent weeks as the rebels have been targeted by a U.S.-led airstrike campaign in Yemen. Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat. American officials have speculated that the rebels may be running out of weapons as a result of the U.S.-led campaign against them and after firing drones and missiles steadily in the last months.

However, since Wednesday, there have been at least two other attacks claimed by the Houthis. The first targeted the MV Yorktown, a U.S.-flagged, owned and operated vessel with 18 U.S. and four Greek crew members. Another targeted the MSC Darwin.

The Houthis have said they will continue their attacks until Israel ends its war in Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians there. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking some 250 others hostage.

Most of the ships targeted by the Houthis have had little or no direct connection to Israel, the U.S. or other nations involved in the war. The rebels have also fired missiles toward Israel, though they have largely fallen short or been intercepted.


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