• Night-time attack occurred as the chemical tanker passed through the Bab El-Mandeb, the strait between Yemen and northeast Afric

WASHINGTON (Agencies): A missile launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels struck a Norwegian-flagged tanker off Yemen on Monday, causing a fire, US Central Command said, adding that no casualties were immediately reported.

The Strinda “reported damage causing a fire on-board, but no casualties at this time,” CENTCOM said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, adding that a US Navy destroyer had heard the ship’s mayday call and was giving assistance.

The night-time attack occurred as the chemical tanker passed through the Bab El-Mandeb, the strait between Yemen and northeast Africa. The strait leads to the Red Sea, a key route toward the Suez Canal.

The attack is the latest escalation from the Houthis in Yemen, who have increasingly targeted ships off the coast with missiles and drone attacks.

US warships patrolling the Red Sea have shot down Houthi missiles and drones several times since the militants began the attacks in a show of support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Houthis captured a commercial car carrier, the Galaxy Leader, on November 19 and forced it to the Hodeidah port in Yemen, where it has remained.

The Strinda, a 144-meter tanker, was built in 2006 and was sailing toward the Suez Canal at the time of the attack.

The vessel is owned by Mowinckel Chemical Tankers AS, a company headquartered in Bergen, Norway.

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