Houthis Claim Responsibility for Missile Strike on Andromeda Star Oil Tanker in Red Sea

Yemen's Houthi rebels claim missile strike on oil tanker in Red Sea, escalating tensions in the region and threatening global trade routes amid the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

Nitish Verma
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Houthis Launch Missile Strike on Oil Tanker in Red Sea Amid Gaza War

Houthis Launch Missile Strike on Oil Tanker in Red Sea Amid Gaza War

On Saturday, Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed they hit the Andromeda Star oil tanker with missiles in the Red Sea, causing minor damage to the vessel. The attack is part of the Houthis' ongoing campaign targeting commercial ships in the region as a show of support for Palestinians fighting Israel in the Gaza war.

The United States Central Command confirmed that three anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched by the Houthis, with one striking the Panama-flagged Andromeda Star. The tanker, currently owned by a Seychelles-registered company, was engaged in Russia-linked trade, traveling from Primorsk, Russia to Vadinar, India at the time of the attack. No injuries or deaths were reported.

Yahya Sarea, the Houthi military spokesperson, claimed responsibility for the strike, stating that the group's missiles hit the Andromeda Star on April 27, 2024. The attack follows a brief pause in the Houthis' campaign targeting ships with ties to Israel, the United States, and Britain in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait, and Gulf of Aden.

Why this matters: The Houthi attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea have forced shippers to reroute cargo along longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa, raising concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could spread and destabilize the Middle East. The ongoing conflict threatens the safety of a major global trade route and risks drawing in regional powers.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping in the area since November, though their assaults had dropped in recent weeks due to a U.S.-led airstrike campaign against them. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier had recently sailed out of the Red Sea after assisting a U.S.-led coalition to protect commercial shipping.

In addition to the Andromeda Star attack, the Houthis claimed to have downed a U.S. MQ-9 drone in Yemen's Saada province on Thursday. The group has vowed to continue their strikes until Israel ends its war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where negotiations remain deadlocked despite international appeals for a ceasefire. "The attacks of the Yemeni armed forces will continue as long as the aggression and siege on our country continues," Sarea warned in a statement.

Key Takeaways

  • Houthi rebels claimed to have hit Andromeda Star oil tanker in Red Sea with missiles.
  • US confirmed 3 anti-ship missiles launched, 1 struck the Panama-flagged Andromeda Star.
  • Houthis claim attack was part of campaign targeting commercial ships to support Palestinians.
  • Attacks on ships in Red Sea force rerouting, threaten global trade route stability.
  • Houthis vow to continue strikes until Israel ends war on Hamas in Gaza Strip.