Cruise missile fired by Houthis strikes tanker at southern gate of Red Sea

The Houthis announced that they would target every Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea.

By Charles Bybelezer, TPS

An anti-ship cruise missile fired from an area in Yemen controlled by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists struck a commercial vessel in the Bab al-Mandab Strait,the southern gate of Red Sea, on Monday night, the U.S. military announced on Tuesday morning.

The attack caused a fire and damage but no casualties.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said that there were no American ships in the vicinity of the attack, but that the USS Mason responded to the tanker Strinda‘s distress call and rendered assistance.

On Saturday, the Houthis announced that they would target every Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea.

The Houthis have recently targeted ships with Israeli owners—the Galaxy Leader, which was brought to the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, and the Central Park, whose hijacking was thwarted by USS Mason. During the hijacking of Central Park, a missile was fired at the Mason from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

From bases along the Yemeni coast, Houthi rebels are able to threaten shipping in the Red Sea as vessels traverse the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a narrow maritime choke point between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. The majority of the world’s oil passes through the strait from the Indian Ocean towards the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Saturday night that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden that Jerusalem would take military action against the Houthis if the Americans did not act first.

Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, the Houthis have launched several ballistic and cruise missiles at the Jewish state.

Israel has bolstered its naval presence in the Red Sea area in response to the attacks.

Late last month, an Israeli-owned commercial vessel, the CMA CGM Symi, was attacked by an Iranian drone in the Indian Ocean.

The Malta-flagged Symi was targeted by a “Shahed-136” drone while traveling in international waters. The “suicide” drone caused damage to the ship but no casualties among the crew.

Iranian-backed militia groups have also been attacking U.S. interests in the region after Washington gave backing to Israel’s war against Hamas in the wake of the terror group’s Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel.

On Friday, the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad was struck with seven mortar rounds, and American forces in Iraq and Syria were targeted at least five more times with rockets and drones.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq took responsibility for the attacks in a statement.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq is an umbrella term for Iranian-backed radical Shi’ite militias in Iraq—Kata’ib Hezbollah, Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhadaa.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin condemned Friday’s attacks during a call with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

“The United States reserves the right to respond decisively against those groups,” Austin told Sudani, according to a Pentagon readout of the call.