The US destroys a missile fired from Yemen at a

Yemen: American attack after Houthi attack on British oil tanker

American forces attacked a Houthi rebel base in Yemen early Saturday after they attacked a British tanker that “caught fire” in the Gulf of Aden. This is a new episode of its campaign targeting international maritime traffic in “solidarity” with Gaza.

“At approximately 3:45 a.m. local time (0045 GMT), US Middle East Command (Centcom) conducted an attack against a Houthi anti-ship missile that was being prepared for launch into the Red Sea,” he said on missile poses an “imminent threat” to American destroyers and merchant ships in the region.

Iran-aligned rebels, who are increasingly carrying out attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, said Friday evening they had fired “missiles” against a “British oil tanker, the Marlin Luanda,” saying the ship “Hit head-on, caught fire.”

Rebel military spokesman Yahya Saree added in his statement that the attack was carried out in support of the Palestinian people and “in response to British and American aggression against our country.”

Private shipping risk firm Ambrey had previously reported that a commercial vessel had been hit in the same area and reported a fire on board, although it was not clear at the time whether it was the same incident.

“A merchant ship was hit by a +missile+, causing a fire,” Ambrey said, adding that the crew was “safe and sound” so far.

Shortly before that attack, the United States destroyed an anti-ship ballistic missile fired “from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen” and aimed at an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, a U.S. warship.

Since November, Houthi rebels have fired numerous rockets and drones off the coast of Yemen, saying they are targeting Israeli-linked ships in “solidarity” with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, an area that has been under Israeli control since the Israeli army's bloody attack Army bombs and besieges Islamist movement Hamas on October 7th.

In response, US forces, sometimes jointly with Britain, have carried out a series of attacks against the Houthis to deter them from continuing to attack merchant ships, but so far without success. The American attacks were particularly aimed at missile and drone launch sites.

Traffic disruptions

On Thursday, Washington and London announced sanctions against four senior Houthi officials accused of helping to organize the attacks.

The Houthis control much of Yemen after nearly a decade of war against the government that has caused one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

These tensions have led certain shipping companies to stop transiting through the Red Sea, which normally carries up to 12% of global trade, and bypass Africa to reach Asia and Europe.

The impact on maritime transport and global trade is already being felt. According to the United Nations, trade volumes through the Suez Canal, a key passage connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, have fallen 42% in the past two months.

The disruption to trade in the Red Sea is all the more worrying as “more than 80%” of global trade in goods is carried out by sea and “other important routes are already under tension,” emphasizes UNCTAD, the UN agency responsible for trade and development.

On Thursday, a Houthi delegation visited Moscow to discuss the “need for intensified efforts to pressure the United States and Israel” to end the war in Gaza and “deliver humanitarian aid rather than militarizing the Red Sea.” said a rebel spokesman. Mohammed Abdelsalam.