Private security firm says missile fire seen off the Yemen coast in the Red Sea near crucial strait

JERUSALEM (AP) — Missiles suspected to have been fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels damaged a ship 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 private security firm Ambrey said three missiles could be seen in the attack, which landed closest to a Panama-flagged, Seychelles-registered tanker it described as being “engaged in Russia-linked trade.” The vessel was traveling from Primorsk, Russia, to Vadinar, India, Ambrey said.

Those details corresponded to a tanker called the Andromeda Star, which had been previously broadcasting its location off Mocha, Yemen, according to ship-tracking data.

The Houthis did not immediately claim the missile fire, though it typically takes the rebels several hours to acknowledge their attacks. The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center also reported the attack off Mocha, saying a ship saw one missile land nearby and a second attack that damaged the vessel. It wasn’t immediately clear if it was the Andromeda Star damaged in the attack.

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 and 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 firing off drones and missiles steadily in the last months.

However, since Wednesday, there have been at least two 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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