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Friendly fire signals Houthis are shooting blind in the Red Sea

Oil tanker Marlin Luanda has caught fire 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden in Yemen after a missile attack by Houthi fighters based in Yemen.

Oil tanker Marlin Luanda has caught fire 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden in Yemen after a missile attack by Houthi fighters based in Yemen.

On Monday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired ballistic missiles at a ship bound for Iran, the militia’s main supporter. Would the Houthis really target their patrons in Tehran?

Almost certainly not. There’s no evidence to suggest a rupture between Iran and the Houthis, who have been attacking ships in the Red Sea in hopes of increasing global pressure on Israel to stop its assault on Gaza.


Rather, according to Eurasia Group’s Iran Expert Gregory Brew, the attack shows that the Houthis may be simply taking a different tack. “Houthi attacks may become more indiscriminate,” says Brew, “hitting ships they don’t intend to hit, or targeting ones with more sensitive cargoes.”

Firing blind(er). Iran recently relocated the surveillance ship that provides intelligence to the Houthis to Djibouti to avoid US attacks, limiting the Houthis ability to identify suitable targets and making it more likely that missiles will be mistakenly fired in the future.

Less precision in Houthi strikes will only further aggravate concerns about security in the Red Sea, a major global shipping chokepoint. See our recent Graphic Truth on the goods and commodities most affected by the Red Sea crisis.

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