Missile Fired from Rebel-Controlled Yemen Misses Container Ship

A U.S. defense official reported that a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels narrowly missed a container ship passing through the important Bab el-Mandeb Strait. This incident is part of the Houthis’ ongoing attacks on ships in the Red Sea and their use of drones and missiles against Israel. The rebels have threatened to target any vessel they suspect of having connections to Israel, even if there is no apparent link. The missile launched on Thursday landed harmlessly in the water near the Maersk Gibraltar, a container ship traveling from Oman to Saudi Arabia. The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations issued an alert about the incident. Later, a Houthi spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging that the ship was heading to Israel and that the crew did not respond to their call to surrender. The private intelligence firm Ambrey stated that the ship had been contacted by an entity claiming to be the “Yemeni Navy” prior to the missile launch. This recent attack comes after two missiles targeted a tanker near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea. These attacks on shipping have escalated due to the Israel-Hamas conflict and pose a threat to global trade, as the Bab el-Mandeb Strait is a vital maritime chokepoint through which a significant amount of oil and goods pass. In November, the Houthis seized a vehicle transport ship linked to Israel, and a container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire was attacked by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean. Although a tentative cease-fire between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition has held for some time, the risk of wider conflict and reprisal strikes from Western forces remains a concern for Yemen’s fragile situation.
A missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels missed a container ship in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait on Thursday, according to a U.S. defense official. The Houthis, backed by Iran, have been targeting ships in the Red Sea and launching attacks on Israel with drones and missiles. The recent attacks have been linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The missile fired on Thursday landed harmlessly in the water near the Maersk Gibraltar, a Hong Kong-flagged container ship. The Houthi spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that the vessel was heading to Israel and failed to respond to their call to surrender. However, no details about the damage were provided. This incident follows previous attacks on commercial tankers near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The strait is a crucial maritime chokepoint through which about 10% of all traded oil at sea passes. The attacks on shipping have raised concerns about the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict into a wider regional conflict.

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