SANAA, Feb 12 (AFP): A vessel reported coming under a missile attack off Yemen's southern coast on Monday while transiting the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait, security agencies said.
Yemen's Huthi rebels, who have repeatedly targeted Red Sea shipping in recent months, said they had attacked a US ship with "suitable naval missiles", though it was not immediately clear they were referring to the same incident.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said in an incident report that the attack occurred before 0400 local time (0100 GMT). "The crew are reported safe and the vessel is proceeding to next port of call," UKMTO said.
Another security firm, Ambrey, said the ship was a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greece-owned bulk carrier and that it "was targeted by missiles in two separate incidents" within 20 minutes.
It "was reportedly hit and sustained physical damage on the starboard side", Ambrey said, adding that a private armed security team was on board.
The group owner and operator of the bulk carrier targeted on Monday regularly trades cargo with Iran, "so this was assessed to be the likely destination", Ambrey said.
"The group owner of the bulker was also listed on the US stock market index NASDAQ, which was identified as the likely reason for the attack," it said.
The Huthis, part of the anti-Western, anti-Israel "axis of resistance" of Iran-backed groups, have been targeting Red Sea shipping vessels since November, triggering US and British reprisal attacks.
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