A cruise missile fired from an area of ​​Yemen controlled by the Shiite Houthi rebels hit a commercial tanker in the Bab al-Madeb Strait, causing fire and damage but no casualties among its crew, two US Defense Department officials told the agency. Reuters news.

The attack on the tanker Strinda took place about 60 nautical miles north of Bab al-Madeb, one of the officials said. According to both, the US destroyer USS Mason is in the area and providing assistance.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement has repeatedly targeted merchant ships because of the Israel/Hamas war. On Saturday, the Houthis announced that they would henceforth take action against all ships bound for Israel, regardless of who they belong to, and warned international shipping companies not to do business with the Jewish state.

It is not clear if the Strinda has any connection to Israel, nor if it was headed for an Israeli port.

Earlier, the UK Government’s International Maritime Organization (UKMTO) reported that an entity it said was the Yemeni navy had ordered a merchant ship to change course and head to a Yemeni port.

Both the Houthi navies and those of the rival, internationally recognized government of Yemen say they are the Yemeni navy.

Earlier, the UKMTO said it had been informed of a fire on a merchant ship near Bab al-Madeb, west of the Yemeni port of Moha.

Much of the oil transported by sea on a global scale passes through the Bab al-Madeb strait.

It is not clear whether the incidents reported by the US and UK authorities are connected, however the UKMTO report of a “fire” on a ship appears to relate to the Strinda.

The Houthis have seized ships of Israeli interests, launched ballistic missiles and sent drones to strike Israeli cities since the Israel/Hamas war broke out on October 7. They are considered part of the Tehran-aligned “axis of resistance” that is hurting Israeli and American interests in the region because of the conflict.