Houthis attack U.S. warship, strike British tanker

The Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen continue to launch strikes against U.S. warships and commercial vessels in the Red Sea, Bab Al Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden despite American and British efforts to end the attacks.

The Houthis, a militia also known as Ansar Allah that has taken control of much of northern Yemen, including the capital of Sana’a, fired an anti-ship ballistic missile at the USS Carney, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, as it was patrolling in the Gulf of Aden today. The Carney shot down the missile, U.S. Central Command reported.

Also today, the Houthis struck the MT Marlin Luanda, a British-owned oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden. The Marlin Luanda is “carrying naphtha, a highly-flammable refined or partially refined petroleum product,” according to gCaptain, a news site that tracks maritime issues. The ship is on fire and has requested assistance. The Houthis claimed credit for hitting the Marlin Luanda.

“Yemeni naval forces carried out a targeting operation on the British oil ship (MARLIN LUANDA) in the Gulf of Aden, using a number of appropriate naval missiles, the strike was direct, and resulted the burning of the vessel,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree posted on his official X feed.

Additionally, the Houthis forced two U.S. merchant marine vessels, the Maersk Detroit and Maersk Chesapeake, which are “carrying cargo belonging to the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, USAID, and other U.S. government agencies,” to turn back from the Bab al Mandeb Strait after coming under attack, gCaptain reported. The USS Gravely shot down two Houthi missiles while one impacted in the sea near the Maersk Detroit, CENTCOM reported.

All three attacks took place in the Gulf of Aden, where the Behshad, an Iranian intelligence ship that is passing intelligence and targeting information to the Houthis to conduct their attacks, is operating. The U.S. and U.K. have launched several attacks against Houthi missile launch and storage sites, radars, and other infrastructure but have refrained from targeting the Behshad and other Iranian assets that facilitate Houthi attacks.

American officials have insisted that the U.S. is not at war with the Houthis even as the latter continues to escalate attacks off the Yemeni coast. The U.S. has struggled to assemble a coalition to contest the Houthis. Only 11 countries have signed onto Operation Prosperity Guardian, the defensive mission to escort ships through the troubled waters. A subset of six countries involved in Operation Prosperity Guardian are participating in offensive attacks against the Houthis, and only two of those, the U.S. and the U.K., are providing the military muscle.

Joe Truzman is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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