According to a US defense official, a missile fired from Houthi-controlled land in Yemen on Thursday missed a cargo ship passing through the vital Bab al-Mandeb Strait, the latest assault endangering shipping in the vital maritime chokepoint.
According to the official, the missile landed in the vicinity of the Maersk Gibraltar, a container ship flying the flag of Hong Kong that was en route from Salalah, Oman, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, without causing any damage.
The official discussed intelligence-related topics while remaining anonymous. The official’s remarks followed the release of an alert warning of an incident in the strait dividing East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula by the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which keeps an eye on shipping waterways in the Middle East.
The Maersk Gibraltar had also been hailed over the radio by “an entity claiming to be the ‘Yemeni Navy’ ahead of the missile being launched toward the vessel,” the private intelligence firm Ambrey said.
“The ‘Yemeni Navy’ demanded the vessel alter course to head for Yemen. Ambrey assessed the entity to be” the Houthis.
Maersk, one of the world’s biggest shippers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thursday’s attack marks just the latest in the seaborne attacks attributed to the Houthis as part of their pressure campaign over the Israel-Hamas war raging in the Gaza Strip.
Two missiles fired from Houthi-held territory missed a commercial tanker loaded with Indian-manufactured jet fuel near the key Bab al-Mandeb Strait on Wednesday. Also near the strait, a missile fired by the Houthis on Monday night slammed into a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea.