The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility early Friday, January 19, for “a targeted operation against an American ship,” the Chem-Ranger, circulating in the Gulf of Aden, assuring in a statement that they had “hit their target.” However, the attack did not cause any damage, according to Washington. The crew “saw the missiles hit the water near the ship” and “there were no reports of injuries or damage,” the US military command in the Middle East (Centcom) said in a statement. published on X.

For its part, the British Maritime Safety Agency (UKMTO) reported an incident 115 nautical miles (about 213 kilometers) southeast of the city of Aden with an explosion 30 meters from the ship and said a drone had flown nearby. According to the specialized sites Marine Traffic and Vessel Finder, the Chem-Ranger is an American tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands which has been off the coast of Yemen in recent days.

“A response to American and British attacks is inevitable, any further aggression will be punished,” the rebels argued, saying they only target ships heading to Israel “as long as there is no ceasefire and that the siege [on the] Gaza Strip will not be lifted.”

“Madness and idiocy of the USA and the UK”

In an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia, published this Friday, a member of the rebels’ political leadership, Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, castigated “the madness and idiocy of the United States and the United Kingdom” who “played against them “.

“Israeli ships, or those with even a tenuous connection to Israel, will not have the slightest chance of crossing the Red Sea,” the official stressed, adding: “our goal is to increase the economic cost for the state Hebrew to stop the carnage in Gaza.”

“From now on, none of their ships will be able to cross one of the main trade routes in the world,” says the rebel leader, assuring that “other countries, including China and Russia”, are not threatened: “We are even ready to ensure the safe passage of their ships through the Red Sea. »

According to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), 12% of global trade passes through the Red Sea.