President Biden's Operation Prosperity Guardian to shield commercial vessels in the Red Sea, along with US and UK bombing raids across the Middle East, have yet to stop Iran-backed Houthi rebel attacks around the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
On Monday morning, Houthi militants claim to have hit an "American ship" (Star Iris) with missiles in the critical waterway.
According to Bloomberg, the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel owned by US-listed Star Bulk Carriers Corp. was hit by two missiles that caused "minor damage." The ship was transiting the Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the time of the attack.
In a statement on social media platform X, a Houthi military spokesperson said (translated from Arabic by Google):
God Almighty said: (Those who believe fight in the way of God, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the tyrant, so fight the friends of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan is weak.) God Almighty has spoken the truth.
A victory for the oppression of the Palestinian people and ensuring a response to the American-British aggression against our country.
The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces targeted the American ship "Star Iris" in the Red Sea with a number of suitable naval missiles, and the hit was accurate and direct, thanks to God.
The Yemeni Armed Forces, in response to their religious, moral and humanitarian duty, will continue to implement the decision to prevent Israeli navigation or navigation to the occupied ports of Palestine in the Red and Arab Seas until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted. They will not hesitate, with the help of God Almighty, to carry out more operations in response to The Zionist crimes against our brothers in the Gaza Strip, as well as in response to the ongoing American-British aggression against our dear country.
بيانٌ صادرٌ عنِ القواتِ المسلحةِ اليمنية— العميد يحيى سريع (@army21ye) February 12, 2024
بسمِ اللهِ الرحمنِ الرحيم
قال تعالى: ( الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا )صدقَ اللهُ… pic.twitter.com/eF9vxBVzMy
Earlier, United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations posted on X that the vessel under attack had reported all crew members safe.
The Houthis have attacked more than a dozen commercial vessels across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since mid-November. In recent weeks, the US and UK have retaliated with bombing raids in Yemen and across the Middle East.
The increasing threat of a regional conflict in the Middle East recently led MUFG Bank's analysts to warn clients about "higher friction geopolitics" that could jeopardize several maritime chokepoints.
Last week, Deutsche Bank Research warned clients: "Red alert 101: Tension in the global supply chain."
And days ago, Japanese shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. warned the Red Sea crisis could last up to one year.