Two defense officials confirmed to Reuters that on Monday a commercial tanker vessel was struck by a land-based cruise missile launched from Houthi-controlled Yemen. The ship suffered a fire and damage, however there were no casualties from the attack.

The attack occurred roughly 60 nautical miles (111km) north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, at about 2100 GMT, according to one official. Following the attack, the US Navy destroyer USS Mason offered aid to the damaged STRINDA tanker, according to the official.

The STRINDA was able to move under its own power following the attack, according to the second official.

The STRINDA chemical tanker is flagged under Norway. The owner, the Norwegian company Mowinckel Chemical Tankers, as well as the manager Hansa Tankers were not immediately available for comment during off-hours.

The Houthi rebels, which are aligned with Iran, have taken a position in the Israel-Hamas war of supporting the Hamas militants. In a show of support, the rebels have attacked ships which they claimed were associated with Israel, and launched drones and missiles at Israel itself.

The Houthis had announced on Saturday that they intended to target all ships that were heading to Israel, regardless of where they were flagged, as they warned all international shipping companies against docking in Israeli ports.

According to data from ship-tracking firm Kpler, the STRINDA had loaded vegetable oil and biofuels in Malaysia, and was heading for Venice, Italy. It is not clear immediately if the ship had any ties to Israel.

The Houthis presently control much of Yemen, and say their attacks are done in support of the Palestinians. They have vowed to continue the attacks until Israel ceases its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Over the first week of December, three commercial ships were attacked in international waters, leading a US Navy destroyer to intervene in the last attack. Last month, the Houthis seized a British-owned cargo ship which was linked to an Israeli company.

Both the United States and Britain have condemned the attacks by the rebels on international shipping, and blamed Iran for its support of the Houthis. Iran has responded that its allies make their own decisions, and it has not been involved in any attacks.

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