Houthi rebels have hit another merchant vessel off Yemen, damaging a cargo ship transiting the Red Sea.
The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said in the early hours of 12 February, Houthis fired two missiles from Yemen toward the Bab al-Mandeb strait. Both missiles were launched toward the MV Star Iris, a Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel transiting the Red Sea carrying corn from Brazil.
The ship reports being seaworthy with minor damage and no injuries to the crew. CENTCOM said it was noteworthy that the MV Star Iris’s destination is Bandar Iman Khomeini, Iran. Iran is believed to be supporting the Houthis, who have been attacking shipping in support of the Palestinian cause in Gaza and in opposition to Israel’s invasion.
The attack on the MV Star Iris is the first time in a week that Houthi missiles have targeted shipping in the region, with the last attempted attack on 6 February when six anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) were fired toward the Southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Three of the ASBMs were attempting to hit the MV Star Nasia, a Marshall Island-flagged, Greek owned-and-operated bulk carrier transiting the Gulf of Aden. One exploded near the vessel causing minor damage but no injuries, and another missile impacted the water near the ship with no effect, while the US Navy vessel USS Laboon intercepted and shot down a third ASBM.
The remaining three ASBMs launched on 6 February were likely targeting MV Morning Tide, a Barbados-flagged, UK-owned cargo ship operating in the Southern Red Sea. The three missiles impacted the water near the ship without effect, CENTCOM reported.
In response to these actions, CENTCOM continued striking Houthi targets in Yemen. On 10 February, its forces hit two two unmanned surface vessels (USV) and three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) north of Al Hudaydah, Yemen, that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.
The previous day, CENTCOM forces struck two mobile USVs, four mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, and one mobile land attack cruise missile (LACM). Other strikes targeted four USVs and seven ASCMs (on 8 February) and three cruise missile launchers (on 7 February).