Houthis attack 6 ships in 3 seas in protest of Israel’s Gaza war

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 5/30/2024 5:33:22 AM

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels said on Wednesday they damaged a Greek-owned bulk carrier in a series of attacks on at least six vessels in response to Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

The bulk carrier Laax and two other vessels were hit in the Red Sea, two more came under attack in the Arabian Sea while a Greek-flagged one in the Mediterranean.

Laax, a Marshall Islands-flagged and Greek-operated vessel, reported being hit by three missiles on Tuesday, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM) and maritime security firms.

The ship was damaged but continued its voyage, according to CENTCOM and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which is run by Britain's Royal Navy.

The Joint Maritime Information Centre (JMIC), run by a Western-led naval task force in the region, said "one crew member was reportedly injured" in the attack.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree, in a post on Wednesday on social media platform X, said the Laax was "directly hit and severely damaged".

He said the rebels also attacked five other ships.

The strikes were "in response to the crimes of the Zionist enemy against the displaced in Rafah", Saree said, after a series of Israeli strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Since November the Houthis have been attacking shipping around the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

They say their actions are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel has been at war with the resistance group Hamas since 7 October.

The Houthi attacks have prompted some shipping companies to detour around southern Africa to avoid the vital Red Sea route that normally carries about 12% of global trade.

In March, a ship loaded with fertiliser sank in the Gulf of Aden after it was damaged by missiles fired by the Huthis.

And in November, the rebels seized the vehicle-transporter Galaxy Leader and its crew in a helicopter-borne attack.

Since January, the United States and Britain have launched retaliatory strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the attacks on shipping.

The strikes have done little to deter the Houthis, who have vowed to target US and British vessels as well as all ships heading to Israeli ports.

Shining BD