Houthi Rebels Fire at Yet Another Tanker in Red Sea

And this one isn't linked to Israel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2023 11:45 AM CST
Houthi Rebels Fire at Yet Another Tanker in Red Sea
File photo of a tanker off the coast of Yemen.   (AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrahman)

A missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels slammed into a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen near a key maritime chokepoint, the rebels and authorities said Tuesday. The assault on the oil and chemical tanker Strinda expands a campaign by the Iranian-backed rebels targeting ships close to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait into apparently now striking those that have no clear ties to Israel. That potentially imperils cargo and energy shipments coming through the Suez Canal and further widens the international impact of the Israel-Hamas war now raging in the Gaza Strip. The AP reports that Houthi military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree issued a video statement saying the rebels only fired on the vessel when it "rejected all warning calls."

The US military's Central Command issued a statement Tuesday saying an anti-ship cruise missile "launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen" hit the Strinda. "There were no US ships in the vicinity at the time of the attack, but the (destroyer) USS Mason ... is currently rendering assistance," Central Command said. The private intelligence firms Ambrey and Dryad Global had earlier confirmed the attack happened near the crucial Bab el-Mandeb Strait separating East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula. "All crew members are unhurt and safe," said the CEO of the Strinda's operator. "The vessel is now proceeding to a safe port." The Strinda was coming from Malaysia and was bound for the Suez Canal and then on to Italy with a cargo of palm oil, he said. Saree alleged without offering any evidence that the ship was bound for Israel.

The Houthis have carried out a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and also launched drones and missiles targeting Israel. In recent days, they have threatened to attack any vessel they believe is either going to or coming from Israel, though there was no immediate apparent link between the Strinda and Israel. Israel's national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said over the weekend that Israel has called on its Western allies to address the threats from Yemen and would give them "some time" to organize a response. But he said if the threats persist, "we will act to remove this blockade." The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is only 18 miles wide at its narrowest point, limiting traffic to two channels for inbound and outbound shipments. Nearly 10% of all oil traded at sea passes through it.

(More Houthis stories.)

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