The UK-owned vessel Rubymar, which had sunk in the Red Sea after being struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by Yemeni Houthi militants, is seen in this aerial view released on March 3, 2024. Image Credit: Reuters

DUBAI: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants have launched fresh attacks on Red Sea shipping including a Greek commercial vessel, the US military and maritime agencies said, continuing a recent resurgence in strikes along the vital route.

At least seven incidents have been recorded in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since April 24, according to a tally by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, breaking a weeks-long lull.

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The Houthis, who control the Yemeni capital Sana’a and much of the country’s Red Sea coast, have launched dozens of attacks on ships since November, claiming solidarity with Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas war.

On Monday, the rebels targeted MV Cyclades, a Greek ship flying the Maltese flag, with three anti-ship ballistic missiles and three drone strikes, the US Central Command (Centcom) said.

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“Initial reports indicate there were no injuries and the vessel continued on its way,” Centcom posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier on Monday, the British navy’s maritime security agency said a ship sailing off the Yemeni coast northwest of Mokha “sustained damage” after a nearby explosion.

“Vessel and crew are reported safe,” the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations agency (UKMTO) added.

Maritime security firm Ambrey said the Malta-flagged container ship was en route from Djibouti to Jeddah and was likely targeted “due to its listed operator’s ongoing trade with Israel”.

Centcom also said US forces shot down a drone over the Red Sea on Monday as it was headed “on a flight path towards USS Philippine Sea and USS Laboon”.

The Houthi militants claimed responsibility for firing at the Cyclades, MSC Orion and two US vessels.

In a statement on social media, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said the Cyclades was targeted because it had docked in an Israeli port on April 21.

The Houthis “will continue to carry out their military operations” until Israel stops attacks on the Gaza Strip, Saree said.

The United States in December announced a maritime security initiative to protect Red Sea shipping from Houthi attacks, which have forced commercial vessels to divert from the route that normally carries 12 percent of global trade.

Since January, the United States and Britain have launched repeated retaliatory strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the ship attacks.

The European Union in February also launched the Aspides naval mission to protect merchant vessels in the Red Sea.

An Italian navy frigate on Monday “repelled multiple attacks” from Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen, shooting down one drone to protect a merchant ship in the Red Sea, the EU naval force said.