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U.S. Central Command reported last night that the guided missile destroyer USS Mason responded to a distress call from a Norwegian-flagged commercial vessel called the M/T Strinda in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait at the south end of the Red Sea, after it was hit by what was assessed to have been an anti-ship cruise missile, fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen. The Strinda reported damage, causing a fire onboard but no casualties, according to the Centcom statement.

The Houthis took responsibility for the attack. The spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces (in Sana’a) Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree confirmed the operation and emphasized that the ship had been targeted after its crew ignored all warning calls, reported Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV. Al-Manar reports that the Yemeni Armed Forces also stated that they will block all ships heading to Israeli ports from navigating the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea until the blockade on Gaza is lifted and essential food and medicine are delivered to its people.

No clear connection of the Strinda to Israel has yet been reported, despite Saree’s statement that the ship was heading to Israel. The Associated Press cited Geir Belsnes, the CEO of the Strinda’s operator J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi, as saying that the ship was coming from Malaysia and was bound for the Suez Canal and thence to Italy, with a cargo of palm oil.