Cruise missile from Yemen strikes tanker ship
A land-based cruise missile launched from Houthi-controlled Yemen has struck a commercial tanker vessel, causing a fire and damage but no casualties, two U.S. defence officials told Reuters on Monday.
The attack on the tanker STRINDA took place about 60 nautical miles (111km) north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait about 2100 GMT, one of the officials said. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mason was there and rendered aid, the officials said.
The Iran-aligned Houthis have waded into the conflict - which has spread around the Middle East since Israel's war on Gaza erupted on Oct. 7 - attacking vessels in vital shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel itself.
On Saturday, the Houthis said they would target all ships heading to Israel, regardless of their nationality, and warned international shipping companies against dealing with Israeli ports.
It was not immediately clear whether the STRINDA had any ties to Israel or if it was heading to an Israeli port.
The group, which rules much of Yemen, says its attacks are a show of support for the Palestinians and has vowed they will continue until Israel stops its offensive on the Gaza Strip - more than 1,000 miles from the Houthi seat of power in Sanaa.
The Houthis are one of several groups in the Iran-aligned "Axis of Resistance" that have been taking aim at Israeli and U.S. targets since Israel began its war on the Palestinian territory.
During the first week of December, three commercial vessels came under attack in international waters, prompting a U.S. Navy destroyer to intervene.
The Houthis also seized last month a British-owned cargo ship that had links with an Israeli company.
The United States and Britain have condemned the attacks on shipping, blaming Iran for its role in supporting the Houthis. Tehran says its allies make their decisions independently.
Saudi Arabia has asked the United States to show restraint in responding to the attacks.