By Ahmed Elimam and Tala Ramadan
DUBAI (Reuters) -A Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned bulk carrier was reportedly struck by a missile while transiting near Yemen’s Aden, British Maritime Security firm Ambrey said on Monday.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said that a vessel was hit from above by a missile 95 nautical miles southeast of Aden, without identifying the vessel.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea it says are linked to Israel or bound for Israeli ports, aiming to support Palestinians in the war and Hamas in Gaza.
U.S. and British forces responded last week by carrying out dozens of air and sea strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.
Ambrey said three missiles were reportedly launched by the Houthis, with two not reaching the sea and the third striking the bulk carrier.
Ambrey added that the impact reportedly caused a fire in a hold, but that the bulker remained seaworthy with no injuries on board.
The vessel was assessed to not be Israel-affiliated, according to Ambrey, which also assessed the attack to have targeted U.S. interests in response to the strikes on Houthi military positions.
The Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and much of the west and north of Yemen, vowed to continue attacks in the Red Sea after the U.S and British strikes.
The group’s leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, said on Thursday in a televised speech that any U.S. attack on Yemen would not go without a response.
The U.S. military said on Sunday a U.S. fighter jet shot down an anti-ship cruise missile that the Houthis fired towards the USS Laboon in the southern Red Sea.
(Reporting by Ahmed Elimam and Tala Ramadan; Editing by David Goodman, Kirsten Donovan and Alex Richardson)