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Yemen's Houthis launch attacks at 6 ships in three seas including Laax vessel

The Houthis, who describe their attacks as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, have launched repeated drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea region since November.
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 15:09 IST
Last Updated : 29 May 2024, 15:09 IST

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Yemen's Houthis launched attacks on six ships in three different seas, the Iran-backed group said on Wednesday, including the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Laax that was damaged after reporting a missile strike off the Yemeni coast.

The Houthis attacked Laax in a barrage of attacks on Tuesday. They also targeted the Morea and Sealady in the Red Sea, the Alba and Maersk Hartford in the Arabian Sea and the Minerva Antonia in the Mediterranean, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said in a televised speech.

The Houthis, who describe their attacks as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, have launched repeated drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea region since November. They have since expanded attacks to other busy waterways.

Tuesday's Houthi attacks came as Israeli tanks moved into the heart of Rafah for the first time - despite an order from the International Court of Justice to end its attacks on the city, where many Palestinians had taken refuge from bombardment elsewhere.

Five missiles fired from Yemen struck the Laax, which was carrying grain, but the vessel was still able to sail to its destination and the crew were safe, the ship's security company, LSS-SAPU, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"The vessel has sustained damage, she is not taking water, she is not tilting and there are no wounded onboard," a LSS-SAPU spokesperson said.

"She is proceeding to her destination with a normal speed."

The spokesperson with LSS-SAPU, which was responsible for evacuating the crew from the Rubymar ship which sank after being hit by a Houthi missile earlier this year, said Laax's Greece-based owner had no connection with Israel or the United States.

The vessel last reported its position on May 28 with a destination of Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran, LSEG shipping data showed.

The Houthis have promised to attack any ships sailing towards Israeli ports, even in the Mediterranean. They also have identified U.S. and UK-affiliated vessels as targets.

The U.S.-flagged Maersk Hartford container ship appears to be the only vessel among the recently attacked with ties to nations the Houthis say they target, according to LSEG data. The Morea coal bulker and Sealady wheat carrier are Malta-flagged, the Minerva Antonia chemical tanker is Greek-flagged and the Alba coal carrier flies the flag of Portugal.

Registered owners for those vessels in LSEG's database are linked to addresses in the United States, Singapore, Malta, Germany and Greece, respectively. Reuters was not immediately able to reach those vessels' registered owners for comment.

The Houthi campaign has sunk one ship, the Rubymar, and involved the seizure of another vessel, killed two crew members and disrupted global shipping by forcing vessels to avoid the nearby Suez Canal and reroute trade around Africa.

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Published 29 May 2024, 15:09 IST

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