The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
View E-Paper

Likely missile attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targets Malta-flagged container ship in Red Sea

Associated Press Monday, 29 April 2024, 14:29 Last update: about 3 months ago

A suspected missile attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeted a container ship in the Red Sea on Monday, authorities said, the latest assault in their campaign against international shipping in the crucial maritime route.

The attack happened off the coast of Mokha, Yemen, the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said, without offering any other immediate details.

It urged vessels to exercise caution in the area.

ADVERTISEMENT

The private security firm Ambrey said a salvo of three missiles targeted a Malta-flagged container ship traveling from Djibouti onward to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“The vessel was targeted due to its listed operator’s ongoing trade with Israel,” Ambrey said.

CMA CGM, a Marseille, France-based shipper, had its Malta-flagged CMA CGM Manta Ray due to sail to Jeddah from Djibouti on Monday. However, the shipper said the vessel remained at harbor in Djibouti and could not have been targeted in the incident.

The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge any attack, though suspicion fell on the group. It typically takes the rebels several hours to claim their assaults.

The Houthis say their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are aimed at pressuring Israel to end its war against Hamas 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.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sunk 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 for months. However, the rebels have renewed their attacks in the past week.

The Houthis on Saturday claimed they shot down another of the U.S. military’s MQ-9 Reaper drones, airing footage of parts that corresponded to known pieces of the unmanned aircraft. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryon J. McGarry, a Defense Department spokesperson, acknowledged to The Associated Press on Saturday that “a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 drone crashed in Yemen.” He said an investigation was underway, without elaborating.

  • don't miss