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Yemen’s Houthis claim attack on Norwegian tanker

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DUBAI — Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia on Tuesday claimed responsibility for an attack on a Norwegian tanker in its latest operation to protest against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

The group targeted the commercial tanker STRINDA with a rocket after the crew refused to respond to all warnings, Houthi military spokesperson Yehia Sareea said in a televised statement.

He vowed that the Houthis would continue blocking ships heading to Israeli ports until Israel allows the entry of food and medical aid into the Gaza Strip — more than 1,000 miles from the Houthi seat of power in Sanaa.

The attack on the tanker STRINDA took place about 60 nautical miles (111km) north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at about 2100 GMT, a US official told Reuters. A second US official said the STRINDA was able to move under its own power in the hours after the attack.

There were no US ships in the vicinity at the time of the attack, but the US Navy destroyer) USS MASON responded to a distress call, the US military’s Central Command said in a statement posted on X.

The attack caused a fire and damage but no casualties, the statement said.

The Houthi spokesman said that the group had managed to obstruct the passage of several ships in recent days, acting in support of the Palestinians.

The chemical tanker is now headed for a safe port, the ship’s Norwegian owner, Mowinckel Chemical Tankers, told Reuters. The STRINDA tanker’s crew of 22 from India are all unhurt, Mowinckel Chair Geir Belsnes said.

On Saturday, the Houthis said they would target all ships heading to Israel, regardless of their nationality, and warned international shipping companies against dealing with Israeli ports.

The STRINDA had loaded vegetable oil and biofuels in Malaysia and was headed for Venice, Italy, data from shiptracking firm Kpler showed.

It was not immediately clear whether the STRINDA had any ties to Israel. — Agencies

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