Houthis Claim Missile Attack on Norwegian-Flagged Ship in Red Sea

The Houthis claim the ship was headed to Israel, while the ship operator and tracking data said it was bound for Italy

Yemen’s Houthis have taken credit for a missile attack on a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea, the group’s latest operation aimed at disrupting shipping in response to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

The Houthis, formally known as Ansar Allah, claimed the ship, the Strinda, was headed to Israel, while the vessel’s operator and ship tracking data said it was bound for Italy. The attack came after the Houthis warned all ships in the area that were sailing to Israel were potential targets.

The Strinda was struck as it passed through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which separates Yemen and East Africa. Houthi spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said Houthi forces fired on the ship after it “rejected all warning calls.”

Map of the region that shows the Bab al-Mandeb Strait

According to US Central Command, the Strinda reported damage but no casualties. CENTCOM said there were no US ships in the area at the time of the attack but that the US Navy destroyer USS Mason responded to the Strinda’s SOS call and was “rendering assistance.”

The latest Houthi attack on shipping comes as Israel is warning it will take action against the group if the US and its allies do not. Reports have said the Biden administration was not planning direct strikes on the Houthis, but that could change as the attacks continue.

Any US strikes on the Houthis could jeopardize the ceasefire that’s held relatively well between the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis since April 2022. For that reason, the Saudis have reportedly asked the US not to bomb Yemen.

The US has backed the coalition against the Houthis since 2015 in a brutal war that has killed at least 377,000 people. The Houthis have controlled the Yemeni capital of Sanaa since 2014 and govern most of the territory that used to be the country of North Yemen, where the majority of Yemen’s population lives.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.