Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile hits US-owned ship

The Gibraltar Eagle, a dry bulk ship operated by Eagle Bulk Shipping, was struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile.

Anti-ship missiles
Photo courtesy: Merh News Agency

A U.S.-owned dry bulk ship, the Gibraltar Eagle, was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to U.S Central Command on Monday. The attack did not cause any casualties or significant damage to the vessel, which was carrying steel products.

The ship’s operator, Eagle Bulk Shipping, based in the U.S., said in a statement that the ship was struck by an “unidentified projectile” while sailing 100 miles off the coast of the Gulf of Aden. The impact damaged one of the cargo holds, but the ship remained stable and left the area.

The attack was part of a series of assaults by the Houthis, who are purportedly backed by Iran and control most of Yemen’s Red Sea coast, on commercial ships they accuse of being linked to Israel or heading to Israeli ports. The rebels say they are targeting Israeli interests to support the Palestinian cause and the Hamas movement in Gaza.

The U.S. and Britain have responded to the Houthi attacks by launching air and sea strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen last week.

Earlier on Monday, another U.S.-owned bulk carrier, flying the flag of the Marshall Islands, was reportedly hit by a missile near the port of Aden, according to British Maritime Security firm Ambrey. The firm said the ship was not affiliated with Israel, and that the attack was likely a retaliation for the U.S. and British strikes on the Houthis.

The latest attack indicated that the Houthis were not deterred by the U.S. and British strikes, and were determined to continue their campaign in the Red Sea.

Residents reported hearing an explosion near the airport of Hodeidah, a city controlled by the Houthis, later on Monday. The cause of the blast was unclear, and Hodeidah is far from Aden, where the previous attack occurred.

The leader of the Houthi group, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, warned in a televised speech on Thursday that the U.S. would face a response if it attacked Yemen.

On Sunday, the U.S. military said it had shot down an anti-ship cruise missile that the Houthis had launched towards the USS Laboon, a U.S. Navy destroyer, in the southern Red Sea.

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