(Al Jazeera Media Network) Yemen’s Houthi rebel group has said that it carried out drone attacks targeting the Israeli port city of Eilat, as well as a commercial vessel in the Red Sea, as the Iran-backed group steps up attacks that it says are a means of pressuring Israel to end its war in Gaza.
Speaking on Tuesday, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the group conducted drone attacks on Eilat and “other areas in occupied Palestine.” Sarea said the group also launched missiles at an MSC United vessel in the Red Sea after it rejected three warning calls.
MSC Mediterranean confirmed that MSC United VIII, which was en route from King Abdullah port in Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Pakistan, came under attack on Tuesday but that the crew was safe. The shipping company says it is conducting an assessment and reported the incident to the U.S.-led naval coalition in the Red Sea.
The statement comes several hours after a British maritime group said it received reports of an incident involving a vessel off the coast of Yemen, saying that drones were sighted and an explosion was heard.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) on Tuesday said the incident took place about 60 nautical miles (111 km) outside of Yemen’s Hodeidah port.
“A commercial shipping vessel came under attack by two suicide drones,” Al Jazeera correspondent Resul Serdar reported from Djibouti, located in east Africa across the sea from Yemen.
“It [UKMTO] says the drones didn’t cause any damage on the ship. The ship is now safe, continuing its voyage, and they are in constant communication with the naval coalition formed by the United States.”
The incidents come amid high tensions in the Red Sea, where the Houthis have been targeting commercial vessels for weeks.