Yemen’s Houthis Target Two Ships in Gulf of Aden

The Houthi leader is threatening to expand attacks on Israeli-linked shipping into the Indian Ocean

Yemen’s Houthis targeted commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday and Thursday as part of their campaign to protest the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.

The attacks came after a relative lull in Houthi operations following months of frequent attacks. The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, claimed they hit the Maersk Yorktown, a US-flagged, owned, and operated container ship that has an American crew.

However, US Central Command said a Houthi missile was intercepted that appeared to be targeting the Maersk Yorktown. CENTCOM said that “a coalition vessel successfully engaged one anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM)” that was fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen. CENTCOM also said its forces downed four drones over Yemen on Wednesday.

The following day, the Houthis claimed another attack on the MSC Darwin, a Liberian-flagged container ship. The British military’s UK Maritime Trade Operations Center also reported the attack and said the “vessel and all crew are safe.”

Also on Thursday, the Houthi leader Sayyed Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said Ansar Allah forces would expand attacks on Israeli shipping into the Indian Ocean, a threat he first made back in March. Al-Houthi noted how his forces first started attacking Israel-linked commercial shipping to show support for Gaza and expanded to include British and American shipping when the US and the UK launched a new bombing campaign in Yemen on January 12.

The US and UK have launched hundreds of missile strikes on Houthi-controlled Yemen, which is where between 70% to 80% of Yemenis live. The campaign has not deterred the Houthis, and the US said recently that it was considering “diplomacy” as the strikes have failed. The Houthis have been clear that they would stop if there’s a ceasefire in Gaza.

The US backed a brutal Saudi/UAE war against the Houthis from 2015-2022 that involved heavy airstrikes and a blockade, and the Houthis only became more of a capable fighting force during that time.

The war killed at least 377,000 people, with more than half dying of starvation and disease caused by the siege. A ceasefire between the Houthis and Saudis has held relatively well since April 2022, but new US sanctions are now blocking the implementation of a lasting peace deal.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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