(Washington) Houthi rebels on Monday targeted a Greek ship off the coast of Yemen which continued its crossing in the Red Sea towards Iran, having suffered only minor damage, the American army confirmed.
“On February 12, from 3:30 a.m. to 3:45 a.m. Sanaa Time (1:30 a.m. Eastern Time to 1:45 a.m. Eastern Time), Iranian-backed Houthi fighters fired two missiles from the areas they control towards the strategic Strait of Bab el-Mandeb,” indicated the American military Command for the Middle East (CENTCOM), in a message posted on the social network X.
“Both missiles were fired at the Marshall Islands-flagged Greek cargo ship MV Star Iriswhich was circulating in the Red Sea, coming from Brazil,” Centcom said.
Before CENTCOM’s announcement, several security agencies had mentioned this incident.
The British Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said in a report that the attack occurred before 4 a.m. (8 p.m. Eastern Time). “The crew is safe and the ship is heading to the next port of call,” according to the UKMTO.
Another security company, Ambrey, said the Greek bulk carrier “was targeted by missiles in two separate incidents” within 20 minutes. It “would have been hit and would have suffered damage on the starboard side,” Ambrey said, adding that a private armed security team was on board.
The group’s owner and operator of the cargo ship targeted Monday regularly trades goods with Iran, “so this was considered the likely destination,” Ambrey added.
“The group owning the bulk carrier was also listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which was identified as the probable reason for the attack,” according to the same source.
The Houthis are part, along with other Islamist groups supported by Iran, of what Tehran calls the anti-Western and anti-Israeli “axis of resistance”. The Houthis have targeted transport ships in the Red Sea since November, triggering US and British retaliatory attacks.
The rebels claim to be carrying out these attacks in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, ravaged by the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas since October.
“Naval forces of the Yemeni armed forces targeted the ship” Star Iris in the Red Sea with a number of naval missiles and “the strikes were precise and direct,” said Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree.
The Houthis “will not hesitate to carry out more operations in retaliation for Zionist crimes against our brothers in the Gaza Strip, as well as in response to the ongoing US-British aggression against our beloved country.”
The Houthis have been at war since 2014 against the government of Yemen, a poor country on the Arabian Peninsula, and have taken control of vast territories including the capital Sanaa.
The Houthi attacks have forced some shipping companies to bypass southern Africa to avoid the Red Sea, a vital route that normally carries about 12% of global maritime trade.
Israel’s first ally, Washington, which has designated the Houthis as a “terrorist” entity, set up a multinational coalition in December to “protect” maritime traffic in the Red Sea.
This coalition having so far not allowed a cessation of attacks, American forces, sometimes with the British ally, have carried out several strikes against the Houthis in Yemen since mid-January.