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Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels was full of grain bound for Iran, the group’s main benefactor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Greek bulk carrier flying the flag of the Marshall Islands that was attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels At the start of the week, a shipment of grain was destined for Iran, the group’s main benefactor, authorities said on Thursday.

The attack on Laax comes as the Houthis continue their attacks on shipping throughout the Red Sea corridor, part of a campaign they say is aimed at putting pressure on Israel and the West. the war in Gaza. However, as maritime traffic through that artery has declined during months of attacks, rebels have hit ships associated with Iran, as well as China and Russia’s economic lifelines in Tehran.

Initially after the attack, the Laax indicated that its destination was Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates. On Thursday, however, his stated destination appeared to be Bandar Khomeini, Iran.

A statement issued by UAE-based French naval forces patrolling the Middle East also identified the ship’s grain cargo as being bound for Iran. It said a team from Djibouti inspected the damage caused by the attack, which involved both drones and missiles, and found no dangerous explosives on board the ship.

Images released by the French navy show damage to both the ship’s waterline and its deck.

Tuesday’s attack saw five missiles hit Laax during the hours-long assault, private security firm LSS-SAPU told The Associated Press. LSS-SAPU, which had previously helped evacuate sailors from the Rubymar attacked by the Houthis which then sanksaid there was no prior radio warning from the Houthis.

LSS-SAPU had three armed security guards on board the Laax at the time of the attack. Among the ship’s crew were 13 Filipinos and one Ukrainian, the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers said in a statement.

In recent months, the Houthis have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians there. THE the war began after the militants led by Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages.

THE Houthis launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, has killed three sailors, seized one ship and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Wednesday, another American drone MQ-9 Reaper apparently crashed in Yemen, with the Houthis claiming to have fired a surface-to-air missile at it. The US Air Force has not reported any planes missing, leading to speculation that the drone may have been flown by the CIA. As many as three may have been lost this month alone.

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