SANAA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi militia on Monday claimed responsibility for attacks on an oil ship and a cargo ship in the southern part of the Red Sea, near the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
"Our naval forces carried out a qualitative military operation against two ships linked to Israel. One was the Swan Atlantic loaded with oil, and the other was the MSC Clara carrying containers. We targeted them with two seaplanes," Houthi military spokesman Yehya Sarea said in a statement aired by the Houthi-run al-Masirah TV.
"The attack came after the two ships' crews refused to respond to calls from our naval forces," he said.
The spokesman reiterated that the group would not harm ships passing through, excluding those heading to Israeli ports, while asking all voyaging ships to "keep the communication devices open."
"We confirm that we will continue to prevent all ships heading to Israeli ports from navigating in the Red Sea and Arab Sea, irrespective of their national origin, unless more food and medicine are allowed into the Gaza Strip," Sarea added.
This is the latest in a series of attacks claimed by the Houthi rebels against ships navigating in the international waters off Yemen since the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on Oct. 7.
Earlier in the day, on the social media platform X, Britain's Maritime Trade Operations agency reported six attacks on several commercial ships passing through the Red Sea off Yemen, near the Bab al-Mandab Strait, including a ship that sustained severe damage on one of its sides after being hit by a projectile.
On Friday, the group claimed responsibility for missile attacks on two Israel-bound cargo ships -- MSC Alanya and MSC Palatium III.
On Thursday, the Houthis said they attacked a cargo ship with a bomb-laden drone after it refused to obey the order to stop its voyage in the Red Sea and go back.
On Tuesday, the group said it launched a missile at an Israel-bound Norwegian oil ship in the Red Sea.
On Nov. 19, its fighters hijacked a commercial ship, Galaxy Leader, in the Red Sea and brought it to Hodeidah.
The Houthi rebels have controlled large swathes of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa and the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah. ■