The Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have reportedly launched missiles at a cargo ship in the Red Sea that was en route to Iran. The targeted vessel was carrying corn to an Iranian port, as per the U.S. Central Command.
What Happened: The Houthi militants, who have been attacking commercial shipping since mid-November, fired two missiles at the MV Star Iris. The ship, registered in the Marshall Islands, sustained minor damage, and no injuries were reported, reported Bloomberg on Tuesday.
The MV Star Iris was headed to Bandar Iman Khomeini, Iran. The Houthis have been targeting ships linked to Israel and its allies, citing these actions as a means to pressure them over the war in Gaza. Despite multiple airstrikes by the U.S. and the U.K., the attacks have continued.
The U.S. has stated that while it does not anticipate the airstrikes to deter the Houthis, they are degrading the militants’ military capabilities. The Houthis and other groups in the region are part of Iran’s “axis of resistance.”
Why It Matters: The Houthi group, which controls the most densely populated regions of Yemen, has been targeting ships in and around the Red Sea and has declared its intention to persist in targeting U.S. and British warships, citing self-defense. This has raised concerns about the safety of international shipping routes in the region.
These attacks come amid escalating tensions in the region, with the U.S. expressing alarm over Iran’s supply of advanced weaponry to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The U.S. has criticized Iran for bolstering the rebels’ capacity to disrupt international commerce and attack merchant vessels.
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