A Washington Post piece has stated that the United States is attempting to prevent the expansion of Israel’s war on Gaza into a regional conflict, and is calling on its allies to expand their multinational navy support in the Red Sea to curb Yemen’s Houthi rebel group’s attacks on ships heading towards Israel.
Around Monday midnight, the group launched its latest attack by firing a cruise missile launched by the Yemeni-based Houthi group targeted a tanker ship crossing the Bab el-Mandeb Strait (separating Africa and the Arabian Peninsula) off the coast of Yemen. The attack led the ship to catch fire and caused some damage, but no casualties were recorded.
Yemeni Armed Forces spokesperson Yahya Sare’e announced in a speech that the Yemeni Naval Forces targeted the ship after it ignored the group’s numerous warnings. He added that the ship was heading towards Israel, carrying gas.
In addition, Sare’e asserted that during the last two days they managed to block the passage of many other ships, who responded to the warnings of the Yemeni Naval Forces. He added that the Yemeni Armed Forces won’t hesitate in targeting any ship that violates what has been previously stated.
According to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), the Norwegian-owned STRINDA ship was passing through the strait at a time where there were no US ships in the vicinity. CENTCOM added that the USS MASON responded to the ship’s mayday call and was rendering assistance.
The ship was about 60 nautical miles to the north of the strait at the time of the attack and, as of Tuesday morning, was proceeding to a safe port according to the CEO of the ship’s operator AS J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, Geir Belsnes.
Houthis’ Commitment to not Let any Ship Pass from and to Israel
Last Saturday, the Houthi group announced that they would target every ship bound for Israel in the Red Sea. During the last few months, they have targeted and captured many ships owned by or affiliated to Israeli individuals, such as the Galaxy Leader, which was brought to the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.
The group added in its statement on Saturday that the embargo would not be lifted until Israel ended its genocidal campaign and lifted its blockade on besieged Palestinian territories and highlighted that the targeting would take place irrespective of the ships’ nationality.
The STRINDA’s Affiliation
The details of the ship, its trips and the missile’s origins are yet to be disclosed. The Strinda is an oil and chemical tanker and is part of the Bergen-based firm Mowinckels Rederi. According to an article in The Maritime Executive, the ship is Norwegian-flagged, owned and operated, its international safety management (ISM) manager is based in Singapore and its automatic identification system (AIS) record shows no calls in Israeli ports during the last year.
According to some sources, the ship was on its way to Italy. Others, however, have cited that it was heading towards Israel with some indicating it was transporting gas, in congruence with Sarae’s speech.
US and Israeli Action in the Red Sea
As of today, Israeli bombing and attacks on Gaza have not stopped and have continued targeting residential neighborhoods, killing at least 18,205 individuals, including 7,729 children. Israeli bombing campaigns and attacks also continue to target civilians in the West Bank and Lebanon.
Resistance efforts, on their part, have also continued across the various fronts, and movements across the globe have not abated and have continued their show of solidarity for the Palestinian people and people of the region against Israeli aggressions.
As of Tuesday, December 12, the US has set about an action plan to deal with future Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.