Men stand near a billboard bearing the image of a commercial ship with the flag of Israel as it is burning after Yemen’s Houthi-affiliated naval forces struck it, at a street on January 10, 2024 in Sana’a, Yemen.
Mohammed Hamoud | Getty Images
A U.S.-owned and operated container ship on Monday was struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, according to the U.S. Central Command.
The U.S. said via social media that the attack took place at around 4 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) but the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, known as the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, reported no injuries or significant damage and continued on with its journey.
The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, the Associated Press reported.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations organization said authorities were investigating the incident, which occurred southeast of Aden in Yemen. The UKMTO said ships were “advised to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity.”
It comes shortly after the U.S. and U.K. launched joint strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. The Iran-backed group has been attacking ships traversing the Red Sea since late last year, wreaking havoc on global trade and drawing international condemnation.
The militants claim their attacks in the Red Sea are in response to the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.
British maritime security firm Ambrey said three missiles were reportedly launched by the Houthis, according to Reuters, with two not reaching the sea and one hitting the vessel.
The U.S.-owned bulk carrier was said to have been transiting in the westbound lane of the International Recommended Transit Corridor, a shipping route through the Gulf of Aden. The missile reportedly caused a fire in a hold.
Ambrey was reported to have said it assessed the attack to have targeted U.S. interests in response to recent military strikes on Houthi military targets in Yemen.
Last week, U.S. and U.K. forces carried out airstrikes on over 60 targets at 16 Houthi militant locations, including missile launch sites, production facilities and radar systems. The strikes came after the Houthis defied a warning to stop targeting maritime vessels in the Red Sea.
The Houthis, which oppose the U.S. and Israeli influence in the Middle East, is not internationally recognized as the government of Yemen but it does control large parts of the country. This includes the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a crucial maritime chokepoint that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.