clear

Creating new perspectives since 2009

Houthis claim responsibility for container ship attack in Red Sea

December 27, 2023 at 11:10 am

Commercial vessels are sailing in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of northern Israel on December 21, 2023 [Mati Milstein/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a container ship in the Red Sea on Tuesday and for an attempt to attack Israel with drones, Reuters has reported.

MSC Mediterranean Shipping said that there were no injuries to the crew from the attack on its ship United VIII en route from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. It said that the vessel had informed a nearby coalition naval warship that it had come under attack and had taken evasive manoeuvres.

Israel said separately that its aircraft had intercepted a hostile aerial target in the Red Sea area.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised address that the group had targeted the vessel, which he identified as the MSC United, after the crew failed to respond to warnings. He also said that the Houthis had carried out a military operation targeting Eilat and other areas in Israel, which he referred to as occupied Palestine. He did not say whether any of the targets were hit successfully.

US fighter jets, a navy destroyer and other assets shot down 12 drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two cruise missiles fired by the Houthis, confirmed US Central Command. There was no damage to ships and no reported injuries, it wrote on X.

Attacks by Houthis in Yemen on commercial ships linked to Israel lead companies to redirect their routes to the historic trade route between Europe and Asia, via the Cape of Good Hope [Omar Zaghloul - Anadolu Agency]

Attacks by Houthis in Yemen on commercial ships linked to Israel lead companies to redirect their routes to the historic trade route between Europe and Asia, via the Cape of Good Hope [Omar Zaghloul – Anadolu Agency]

The Houthis, who control much of Yemen including the capital Sanaa, have since October attacked merchant vessels in the Red Sea which they say have links with or are sailing to Israel. The attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

Britain’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations organisation reported earlier two incidents of explosions in the Red Sea off of the coast of Yemen involving missiles and drones near a vessel. It also said there were no reported injuries.

The reported incidents come a week after the US announced a multinational maritime security initiative in the Red Sea in response to attacks on vessels by the Houthis. Several shipping lines have suspended operations through the Red Sea waterway in response to the attacks, opting instead to take the longer and more expensive journey around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope.

The Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks until Israel halts its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. They also warned that they would attack US warships if the militia itself was targeted.

READ: Yemen’s Houthis urge OIC countries to ban Israel ships