Houthis claim new attacks on Red Sea shipping

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The Houthis have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea for months (file image)
By Kathryn Armstrong
BBC News

The Houthi movement in Yemen says it has fired missiles at two ships in the Red Sea, apparently undeterred by US and UK strikes on the group.

The group’s leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi warned that his group would “further escalate” if the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza did not end.

The Houthis targeted the Star Nasia and Morning Tide ships.

The Greek-flagged Star Nasia was damaged but its crew were unhurt, a Greek official told Reuters.

Furadino Shipping Ltd, the British owner of the Morning Tide, said there was an explosion near the ship but that it was undamaged and nobody was hurt and the vessel was able to continue on its route.

The latest attacks by the group come after a wave of air strikes by the US and UK in recent days, including a strike on Monday that the US Central Command said hit two uncrewed explosive surface vehicles.

Previous strikes over the weekend hit Houthi missiles, the US said. More than 30 targets were struck in the third wave of joint UK and US attacks on Saturday.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency on Tuesday confirmed it had received reports of an attack on a ship just after midnight GMT in the Red Sea, west of the Yemeni city of Hodeidah.

British maritime security firm Ambrey, meanwhile, said a general cargo ship owned by a British company and sailing under a Barbados flag had suffered damage in an attack while sailing through the sea.

The commander of HMS Diamond, a UK warship that has been part of efforts to protect merchant ships from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea in recent months, described the situation in the region on Tuesday as “fraught”.

“Ships in the force are firing on a daily basis,” Peter Evans said on Tuesday.

The Houthis – a Hamas ally – regard all Israeli, US and British ships as legitimate targets following Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza. They claim they are only targeting vessels with links to these countries.

Since November, the group – which controls a significant part of Yemen – has launched dozens of attacks on commercial vessels travelling through the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

These attacks have slowed down international trade, raising fears of supply bottlenecks.

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