Iran-Backed Houthi Terrorists Claim Attacks on Three Civilian Ships, Two U.S. Destroyers


The Iran-backed Houthi terrorists of Yemen on Monday claimed responsibility for missile attacks against three civilian ships in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, plus drone attacks on two U.S. destroyers in the Red Sea.

UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said on Tuesday it has received reports of significant damage to a cargo ship off the coast of Yemen.

The Houthis said on Monday they launched missiles at ships called Largo Desert and Mechela in the Indian Ocean, plus Minerva Lisa in the Red Sea. They did not say exactly when the attacks took place and they did not name the two U.S. destroyers they claim to have targeted with drones.

The Largo Desert is an oil and chemicals tanker sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands. The Mechela appeared to be a container ship flagged from Portugal. The Minerva Lisa is a crude oil tanker sailing under the flag of Liberia.

The Houthis claim their piracy is conducted on behalf of the Palestinians in Gaza and they are supposedly targeting ships owned by, or doing business with, Israel and the United States. They have attacked numerous vessels that did not meet any of those criteria, however.

Iranian state media quoted Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree describing the Larego Desert as an “American” ship and the Mechela as an “Israeli” vessel. He did not elaborate on why the Minerva Lisa was targeted.

RELATED: U.S. Forces Strikes Houthi Targets in Red Sea Show of Defense

Maritime tracking experts noted there does not appear to be a ship named Mechela, or anything close to that name, operating in the Red Sea or Indian Ocean. The Portuguese ship with a similar name, Michela, is currently sailing through the Atlantic Ocean en route to Brazil.

Saree claimed the drone “hits” on two American destroyers in the Red Sea were “accurate.”

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) launch on Saturday with no injuries or damage and a drone launch from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Sunday. 

CENTCOM said the uncrewed aerial system (UAS) launched on Sunday was deemed an “imminent threat to merchant vessels in the region” and destroyed.

“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” CENTCOM said. The U.S. military offered no further comment on the Houthi claims.

On Tuesday, UKMTO reported what appears to be another Houthi attack, this one apparently inflicting significant damage on a civilian vessel in the southern Red Sea near Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah.

Hodeidah is close to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait linking the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, an area that has seen many Houthi attacks on shipping.

A maritime security firm called Ambrey picked up radio signals from the stricken vessel, saying that it “sustained damage to the cargo hold” and was “taking on water.” 

The location of the attack matched up with a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-managed bulk carrier called the Laax, which was en route to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

“The crew are reported safe and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call,” UKMTO said.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.