Yemen's Houthi rebels launch boat-borne bomb attack against Greek-owned ship in Red Sea

Yemen's Houthi rebels launch boat-borne bomb attack against Greek-owned ship in Red Sea

Yemen's Houthi rebels launched a boat-borne bomb attack against a commercial ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday, authorities said, marking another escalation in the face of a US-led campaign trying to protect the vital waterway.

Yemen's military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the vessel targeted as the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier Tutor. He described the attack as using a "drone boat," as well as drones and ballistic missiles.

In a warning to shippers, the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Centre described the vessel as being hit in its stern by a small white craft southwest of the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeida.

The captain "reports the vessel is taking on water, and not under command of the crew," the UKMTO said. He also "reports the vessel was hit for a second time by an unknown airborne projectile."

The US military's Central Command also acknowledged the attack, saying the Tutor "most recently docked in Russia".

"The impact of the (drone boat) caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room," it added.

The US military separately destroyed three anti-ship cruise missile launchers in Houthi-held Yemen, as well as one rebel drone over the Red Sea. The Houthis launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles over the Red Sea, but they caused no damage, Central Command said.

The Houthis, who seized Yemen's capital nearly a decade ago and have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since shortly after, have been targeting shipping throughout the Red Sea corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

They say the attacks are aimed at stopping the war and supporting the Palestinians, though the attacks often target vessels that have nothing to do with the conflict.

An HSC-7 helicopter lands on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon in the Red Sea.
An HSC-7 helicopter lands on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon in the Red Sea. - Bernat Armangue/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

The war has seen more than 37,000 killed in Gaza, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank.

It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages, an unclear number of whom remain in captivity.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on ships, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration.

A US-led airstrike campaign has targeted the Houthis since January, with a series of strikes on 30 May, killing at least 16 people and wounding 42 others, the rebels say.