Missile attacks damage a ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, close to previous attacks by the Houthi rebels

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Missile attacks twice damaged a Greek-owned Marshall Islands-flagged ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, with a private security firm saying radio traffic suggested the ship had taken on water after being hit.

No group has claimed responsibility, but suspicion fell on Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have launched a number of attacks on ships over Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The first attack on the bulk carrier Laax took place near the port city of Hodeida in the southern Red Sea, near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that connects it to the Gulf of Aden, according to the British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Centre. The ship “suffered damage” during the attack and later reported an “impact in the water in the immediate vicinity of the ship”, the UKMTO said.

“The crew has been reported safe and the ship is proceeding to its next port of call,” the center said.

Private security firm Ambrey said the ship radioed that it had “suffered damage to the cargo hold and was taking on water.”

Late on Tuesday evening, the UKMTO reported that the Laax “suffered further damage” in a second rocket attack near Mokha in the Bab el-Mandeb.

The US Army Central Command also identified the targeted ship as the Laax. The ship reported it was heading to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Grehel Ship Management of Piraeus, Greece, manages the Laax. A man who answered the phone at Grehel declined to answer questions about the attack and an emailed request for comment was not returned.

The Central Command separately said it had destroyed five Houthi drones over the Red Sea during the attacks.

The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the attack, although it could take the rebels hours or even days to claim their attacks.

The Houthis have launched attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in recent months, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza that has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians there. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage.

The rebels have carried out more than 50 attacks on shipping since November, seizing one ship and sinking another, according to the United States Maritime Administration.

Shipping through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden has decreased due to the threat. The pace of Houthi attacks has slowed in recent weeks, although the rebels claim to have shot down US surveillance drones.

Yemen has been ravaged by conflict since rebels took the capital Sanaa in 2014. A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in 2015 alongside the Yemeni government-in-exile, but the conflict has been in a stalemate for years as Riyadh tries to reach a peace deal with the Houthis.

Speaking Tuesday in Dubai, the prime minister of Yemen's exiled, internationally recognized government urged the world to look beyond the Houthis' claims to support the Palestinians in their attacks.

“The Houthis' exploitation of a very just cause, such as the cause of our people in Palestine and what is happening in Gaza, is to escape the benefits of peace and lead us to major complications,” Ahmed Awad bin told Mubarak to the Arab media. Forum. “Peace is a strategic choice. We must achieve peace. The war must stop. This is a must. Our people need security and stability. The region itself needs stability.”

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