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Houthis attack Greek-owned vessel in Red Sea

Japan's biggest shipper on Tuesday suspended navigation through the Red Sea.

Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer “USS Carney” respond to a simulated small-craft vessel during an anti-terrorism drill on Dec. 6, 2023. Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy.
Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer “USS Carney” respond to a simulated small-craft vessel during an anti-terrorism drill on Dec. 6, 2023. Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy.

An unidentified cargo ship was attacked off the coast of Yemen, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported on Tuesday afternoon.

The British naval security company Embray said the vessel, owned by a Greek company and sailing under the flag of Malta, was targeted in the Red Sea area, 76 nautical miles (some 90 statute miles) northwest of Yemen’s port city of Saleef.

The vessel was hit by an “unknown object in the cargo hold,” according to UKMTO.

According to a maritime source cited by Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, the attack was carried out by Iran-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have vowed to target any Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea, regardless of its ownership. Over the past three months, they have attacked or harassed at least 27 ships in international waters, according to data published by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). The majority of vessels attacked have not had any apparent connection to Israel.

Meanwhile, Japan’s biggest shipper on Tuesday suspended navigation through the Red Sea. Nippon Yusen, also known as NYK Line, instructed its vessels to wait in safe waters, a spokesperson told Reuters.

The announcement came after the Houthis on Monday attacked a U.S. vessel 95 nautical miles (almost 110 statute miles) southeast of Aden in the Red Sea. The ship’s port side was reportedly hit from above by a missile.

In recent days, the United States and Britain have struck back at Houthi targets in Yemen, following last week’s condemnation of the Houthi attacks by the United Nations Security Council.

In addition, U.S. Navy SEALs operating in international waters near the coast of Somalia have seized Iranian-made weapons destined for the Houthis, CENTCOM announced on Tuesday.

As part of a Jan. 11 operation, forces operating from the USS Lewis B. Puller, supported by choppers and UAVs, seized “propulsion, guidance and warheads for Houthi medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), as well as air defense associated components,” CENTOM said in a post on X.

The operation marked the first seizure of lethal Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis since the beginning of Houthi attacks in Nov. 2023.

“It is clear that Iran continues shipment of advanced lethal aid to the Houthis. This is yet another example of how Iran actively sows instability throughout the region in direct violation of U.N Security Resolution 2216 and International law,” commented CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla.

“We will continue to work with regional and international partners to expose and interdict these efforts, and ultimately to reestablish freedom of navigation,” he added.

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