Though unsuccessful, the attack marks an intensification in the battle between the Houthis, which control large parts of Yemen, and a U.S.-led naval operation aimed at protecting commercial shipping in one of the most important global trade routes.
In recent weeks, Western navies have repeatedly responded to Houthi attacks against cargo ships traveling along the coast of Yemen that began soon after the October 7 attack by the Hamas militant group against Israel.
The Yemen-based group said it was conducting its attacks in solidarity with the Palestinian group. In response, Western militaries are now increasingly targeting Houthi weapons sites in Yemen.
On Friday, the Houthi rebels also struck an oil tanker with an anti-ship ballistic missile, according to the ship’s operator Trafigura. “The crew is continuing efforts to control the fire in one of the ship’s cargo tanks with support from military vessels,” the company said in a statement.