Houthi attack on ship kills 2

A suspected attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden caused the first fatal assault by the group.


World News

March 6, 2024 - 2:00 PM

Members of the Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Houthi group patrol the sea as demonstrators march through the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on Jan. 4, 2024, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant Hamas group in Gaza. Photo by (AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden caused “fatalities” and forced the crew to abandon the vessel on Wednesday, authorities said, the first fatal attack in a campaign of assaults by the group over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The attack came as a U.S. destroyer separately shot down drones and a missile launched by the Houthis and as the Indian navy released images of it fighting a fire aboard a container ship earlier targeted by the rebels.

Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters over the Israel-Hamas war. The Houthis didn’t immediately claim the attack, although it typically takes several hours for them to acknowledge an assault.

The extent of the damage to the Liberian-flagged ship remained unclear, but the crew fled the ship and deployed lifeboats — signaling a serious incident, said a U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Two other U.S. officials, also speaking on condition of anonymity as they didn’t have authorization to speak publicly, acknowledged the attack caused “fatalities,” without elaborating.

The attack Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden targeted a Barbados-flagged bulk carrier called True Confidence, which earlier had been hailed over radio by individuals claiming to be the Yemeni military, officials said. 

The Houthis have been hailing ships over the radio in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since launching their attacks, with analysts suspecting the rebels want to seize the vessels.

The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center described the True Confidence as reportedly being hit in the attack and sustaining damage. The UKMTO on Wednesday night acknowledged the ship had been abandoned by its crew and was no longer under command.