Houthi Missile Strikes US Cargo Ship

Newly recruited Houthi fighters (Reuters)
January 15, 2024

Houthi forces in Yemen struck the U.S.-owned and operated container ship M/V Gibraltar Eagle with an anti-ship ballistic missile, U.S. Central Command said on Monday, although there were no reports of injuries or significant damage.

The vessel's U.S.-based owner Eagle Bulk Shipping did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Iran-backed Houthis who control most of Yemen's Red Sea coast have been attacking commercial ships in the area they say are linked to Israel or bound for Israeli ports, in action they say is aimed at supporting Hamas in its war against Israel.

U.S. and British forces responded last week by carrying out dozens of air and sea strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

Earlier in the day British Maritime Security firm Ambrey said that a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned bulk carrier was reportedly struck by a missile while transiting near Yemen's port of Aden.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said that a vessel was hit from above by a missile 95 nautical miles southeast of Aden, without identifying the vessel.

Ambrey said three missiles were reportedly launched by the Houthis, with two not reaching the sea and the third striking the bulk carrier.

Ambrey added that the impact reportedly caused a fire in a hold, but that the bulker remained seaworthy with no injuries on board.

The vessel was assessed not to be Israel-affiliated, according to Ambrey, which also assessed the attack to have targeted U.S. interests in response to the recent strikes on Houthi military positions.

Later on Monday an explosion was heard near Yemen's Hodeidah airport, residents reported. Hodeidah is some distance from Aden, however, and it was not immediately clear what had caused the blast.

The Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and much of the west and north of Yemen, have vowed to continue attacks in the Red Sea since the U.S. and British strikes.

The group's leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, said on Thursday in a televised speech that any U.S. attack on Yemen would not go without a response.

The U.S. military said on Sunday a U.S. fighter jet shot down an anti-ship cruise missile that the Houthis fired towards the USS Laboon in the southern Red Sea.