Yemen’s Houthis claim joint raid on Israeli ships with Iraqi militia

The Houthis say they targeted vessels in Israel’s Haifa port together with the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

The USS aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower sails in the Red Sea on Wednesday, June 12
The group has launched more than 60 attacks, sunk two commercial ships, seized another, and attacked dozens more since the start of the war [Bernat Armangue/AP Photo]

Yemen’s Houthis have claimed carrying out a joint military operation with an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, to target four vessels in Israel’s Haifa port.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a televised statement on Sunday that the group fired drones at two cement tankers and two cargo ships at the port a day prior over noncompliance with a ban on entering “ports of occupied Palestine”.

Saree added that the group had also targeted a Shorthorn Express ship in the Mediterranean Sea using drones, and both operations “successfully achieved their goals”.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported an explosion occurred in Haifa at dawn after an air defence missile was launched towards the sea without activating the sirens. Israel’s military did not comment on the Houthi claim, but stated in a post on X that it had shot down a drone approaching the country overnight from the east.

In yet another incident, the British maritime security agency UKMTO said that a merchant ship was damaged by a drone attack in the Red Sea near Yemen early on Sunday morning, though no injuries were reported.

The attack occurred about 65 nautical miles (120km) west of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, said the agency, which is run by the British navy.

“The Master of a merchant vessel reports being hit by uncrewed aerial system (UAS), resulting in damage to the vessel. All crew members are reported safe, and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call,” said a bulletin from the agency.

“Authorities are investigating,” it added, offering no attribution for the attack.

It later claimed that yet another incident was detected on Sunday near Yemen’s Nishtun port, urging vessels to take caution.

Vessels in and around the Red Sea have come under repeated attack for months by Iran-backed Houthis who say they are acting in support of Palestinians.

On Saturday, Houthis claimed an attack on a ship that docked in Israel – a claim the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said was “categorically false”.

CENTCOM, which has carried out retaliatory strikes against the Houthis over their attacks on shipping, said it had destroyed three nautical drones belonging to the group over the past 24 hours.

It also said the group had launched three antiship missiles into the Gulf of Aden, but no injuries or significant damage were reported.

The leader of Yemen’s Houthis, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, said earlier in June that the joint group’s operations with the Islamic Resistance in Iraq would intensify against all ships docking at Israeli ports “in solidarity with Palestine”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies