Yemen-Launched Missile Hits US-Owned Cargo Ship

Houthis are suspected as tensions escalate in the Red Sea
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2024 10:15 AM CST
Missile Hits US-Owned Cargo Ship Off of Yemen
File photo of a tanker off the coast of Yemen in 2023.   (AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrahman)

A missile fired from Yemen struck a US-owned ship just off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden, less than a day after Yemen's Houthi rebels fired an anti-ship cruise missile toward an American destroyer in the Red Sea, officials said. Suspicion immediately fell on the Iranian-backed Houthis, though the rebels didn't immediately acknowledge carrying out the assault on the Gibraltar Eagle. It marked the latest attack roiling global shipping amid Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Houthis have targeted that crucial corridor linking Asian and Mideast energy and cargo shipments to the Suez Canal onward to Europe over the war, attacks that threaten to widen that conflict into a regional conflagration.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which oversees Mideast waters, said Monday's attack happened some 110 miles miles southeast of Aden. It said the ship's captain reported that the "port side of vessel [was] hit from above by a missile." Private security firms Ambrey and Dryad Global told the AP that the vessel was the Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier. Satellite-tracking data analyzed by the AP showed the Gibraltar Eagle had been bound for the Suez Canal but rapidly turned around at the time of the attack.

The US Navy's Mideast-based 5th Fleet didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Yemen's Houthi rebels didn't acknowledge any attack, though they've fired missiles previously in that area. The Houthis alleged without evidence that the US struck a site near Hodeida on Sunday around the same time as the cruise missile fire on the US destroyer. The Americans and the UK didn't acknowledge conducting any strike, suggesting the blast may have been from a misfiring Houthi missile. (More Houthis stories.)

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