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Yemen's Houthis target cargo ship in Red Sea

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Iran-aligned Houthis said on Monday they had targeted a cargo ship in the Red Sea, the latest such strike since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The bulker was reportedly hit and suffered damage to its the starboard side © Mena Today 

Iran-aligned Houthis said on Monday they had targeted a cargo ship in the Red Sea, the latest such strike since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The Houthis identified the vessel as the Star Iris. The group's military spokesman, Yahya Saree, said in a televised statement the ship was American but maritime-shipping trackers said the Marshall Islands-flagged ship was Greek-owned.

The British maritime security firm Ambrey and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said earlier on Monday that a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greece-owned bulk carrier had been targeted by missiles in two incidents while pasing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The bulker was reportedly hit and suffered damage to its the starboard side, Ambrey said.

Houthi militants in Yemen control the country's most populous regions, and have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping since mid-November.

They say the attacks are a response to Israel's military actions in Gaza and that they are carried out in sympathy with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The attacks have prompted several companies to halt Red Sea journeys and opt for a longer and more expensive route around Africa.

Ambrey reported that the carrier had sighted a projectile near the vessel 23 nautical miles (43km) northeast of Djibouti's Khor Angar and 40 nautical miles southwest of Yemen's Red Sea port city of Mokha.

Ambrey said the bulker was reportedly headed to Bandar Imam Khomeini, a city in Iran.

"The group owner and operator regularly trade bulk cargo with Iran, so this was assessed to be the likely destination," the firm added.

The group owner of the bulker was listed on the U.S. stock market index NASDAQ, which was identified as the likely reason for the attack, Ambrey added.

UKMTO said early on Monday it had received a report of an incident 40 nautical miles (74 km) south of Mokha, where the ship reported it had been attacked by two missiles.

The crew were unharmed, UKMTO said, and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call, UKMTO added.

Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Jana Choukeir

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