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  4. Projectile fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen hits German-owned ship in Red Sea, causes fire

Projectile fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen hits German-owned ship in Red Sea, causes fire

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis have been attacking vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza over two months ago, in a campaign they say aims to support the Palestinians.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Dubai Published on: December 15, 2023 17:48 IST
The strategic Red Sea has become the latest hotspot of
Image Source : AP The strategic Red Sea has become the latest hotspot of confrontations in connection with the Israel-Hamas war.

A projectile launched by the Houthi-controlled Yemen struck a Liberian-flagged German-owned cargo ship in the Red Sea on Friday, causing a fire but no injuries, according to a US defence official. In another incident, a Liberia-flagged container ship was ordered to alter course towards Yemen by people, reported as Houthi members, aboard a small craft.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the incidents. However, Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis have been attacking vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza over two months ago, in a campaign they say aims to support the Palestinians.

The US defence official said that a drone was involved in the attack against the German-owned ship Al Jasrah in the Red Sea. A spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd, which owns the cargo vessel, said, "Hapag-Lloyd will take additional measures to secure the safety of our crews."

Meanwhile, the second Liberia-flagged vessel MSC ALANYA was approached by a small craft with 10 people on board "who declared themselves to be Yemeni authorities", said maritime security company Ambrey. "Captain you are not allowed to proceed to the Red Sea. Alter your course to the south side, now," said the alleged Houthi members to the ship. The vessel took evasive measures afterwards.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) also said it had received a report of a small craft with 10 people aboard declaring themselves to be Yemeni authorities ordering a vessel to alter course towards Yemen in the vicinity of Bab al-Mandab, 50 nautical miles north of Mokha.

Missile attacks by Yemen continue

Al Jasrah was targeted in another ballistic missile attack later on Friday, which struck Liberian-flagged cargo ship MSC Palatium III. It remains unclear if anyone was hurt, and another missile was fired shortly that missed both ships.

The attacks further escalate a campaign by the Houthi rebels, who have claimed responsibility for a series of missile assaults in recent days that just missed shipping in the Red Sea and its strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

On Wednesday,  two missiles fired from Houthi-held territory missed a commercial tanker loaded with Indian-manufactured jet fuel near the key Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Also near the strait, a missile fired by Houthis on Monday night slammed into a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea.

Global shipping has increasingly been targeted as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to become a wider regional conflict — even during a brief pause in fighting during which Hamas exchanged hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The collapse of the truce and the resumption of a punishing Israeli ground offensive and airstrikes on Gaza have raised the risk of more sea attacks.

In November, Houthis seized a vehicle transport ship linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen. The rebels still hold the vessel near the port city of Hodeida. Separately, a container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire came under attack by a suspected Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean.

(with inputs from Reuters, AP)

ALSO READ | Houthi rebels in Yemen target Norway tanker ship with cruise missile in Red Sea: US

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