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MICHAEL WAKIN, Associated Press

3 hours ago

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, an F/A-18 Super Hornet prepares to launch from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea on July 5, 2024. The Roosevelt is replacing the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Navy's campaign against attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels who are attacking ships in the Red Sea corridor as part of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Seaman Aaron Haro Gonzalez/US Navy, via AP)

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, an F/A-18 Super Hornet prepares to launch from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea on July 5, 2024. The Roosevelt is replacing the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Navy’s campaign against attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels who are attacking ships in the Red Sea corridor as part of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Seaman Aaron Haro Gonzalez/US Navy, via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted a Liberian-flagged tanker in the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait on Wednesday, authorities acknowledging that the rebels launched their furthest attack yet on a U.S.-flagged vessel near the Arabian Sea.

The attacks come after an unexplained pause of a week and a half, with the rebels possibly regrouping before a new U.S. aircraft carrier arrives in the region after the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower begins its journey home.


The Joint Maritime Information Center, which is under the control of the US Navy, identified the Liberian-flagged ship as Mount Fuji. The attack occurred south of Mocha, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Center said. The captain reported explosions on the side of the ship.

“The ship and all crew are safe,” the UKMTO said. “The ship is proceeding to its next port of call.”

The Houthis have been attacking ships in the busy Red Sea corridor since November, after the war between Israel and Hamas began in Gaza. The rebels did not immediately claim responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, although they often do so after hours or days.

On Tuesday, the Houthis said they fired missiles at a US container ship in the Gulf of Aden. The JMIC identified the ship as the Maersk Sentosa and said it was the furthest attack by the Houthis from Yemen since November.

Late Tuesday, the Houthis claimed full responsibility for three attacks, including the one on the Maersk Sentosa. Maersk, a Danish company and the world’s largest shipping company, confirmed to The Associated Press that its ship had been attacked.

“No injuries to the crew or damage to the ship or cargo have been reported,” the shipping company said in a statement. “The ship is currently continuing its voyage to its next port of call.”

The rebels have attacked more than 70 ships with missiles and drones during their offensive, killing four sailors. Since November, they have captured one ship and sunk two.

In June, the number of Houthi attacks on merchant ships rose to a level not seen since December, according to JMIC. US-led air strikes have been targeting the Houthi since January. In a series of attacks on May 30, at least 16 people were killed and 42 others injured, according to the rebels.

The Houthis claim that their attacks target ships with links to Israel, the US or Britain as part of the rebels’ support for the militant Hamas group in its war against Israel. However, many of the ships attacked have little or no connection to the war – including some bound for Iran, which supports the Houthis.

Only a few of the Houthi attacks targeted US-flagged merchant ships.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is scheduled to enter the Middle East to replace the Eisenhower, which spent months in the Red Sea fighting the Houthis. The Navy has not released any new details on the Roosevelt’s location, although an image released by the Navy on Friday placed the carrier in the South China Sea.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.