Houthis Attack Norwegian Tanker In Red Sea


By Saeed Al-Batati

Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed responsibility for a missile attack on a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea on Tuesday.

Earlier, they threatened to attack any Israel-bound ships and warships that follow them.

The Houthi attack comes as the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen pledged to assist Yemeni Coast Guard personnel in protecting the Red Sea and Yemen’s coastline. 

Houthi military spokesperson Yahiya Sarae said that the militia launched a “naval” cruise missile at the Norwegian tanker that was claimed to be going to Israel ignoring the militia’s instructions not to sail in the Red Sea. Numerous ships, he added, cooperated with orders and diverted their routes.

“Over the last two days, Yemeni military forces were successful in blocking the passage of many ships that heeded Yemeni naval warnings. We did not attack the Norwegian oil tanker until its crew ignored all warnings,” Sarae said, adding that the ship was taking oil to Israel.

The US Central Command said in a statement that at about midnight (Yemeni time), an anti-ship cruise missile launched from Houthi-controlled territory attacked the Motor Tanker STRINDA in the Bab El-Mandeb Strait, causing the tanker to catch fire, but no casualties were reported.

French frigate FREMM Languedoc intercepted and destroyed a drone that was threatening the STRINDA in a complex aerial attack originating from Yemen, the French Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The Houthis have vowed to close the Red Sea to any Israeli-operated or owned ships, as well as ships of all nationalities sailing to Israel, unless Israel stops bombing Gaza and enables inhabitants in the city to access water and food.

Meanwhile, the coalition has committed to assist the Yemeni government’s naval troops in protecting the country’s coastlines from “terrorist” assaults and in defending the Red Sea.

Official Yemeni media reported that a Saudi military delegation led by the commander of the coalition’s forces in Aden, Brig. Gen. Hussien Al-Harbi, met Tareq Mohammed Saleh, vice president of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, on Monday in the Red Sea town of Mocha. The parties discussed military support for Yemen’s coastguard and naval forces to protect Yemeni seawater and secure international maritime traffic off Yemen’s coasts.

In other news, the Houthis launched an attack on government troops in disputed regions in the southern province of Dhale, the latest in a series of Houthi efforts to gain military ground in the province.

Yemen’s southern soldiers stationed along northern Dhale repelled a “big” Houthi onslaught on their positions on Monday, forcing the Houthis to flee, according to state media.

The strike comes after the Houthis organized military funeral processions in Sanaa this week for at least a dozen militants killed in clashes with Yemeni government soldiers. 

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