Israelis Refute Houthi Claims of Joint Attack with Militia on Port of Haifa

Port of Haifa (Israel Ports Company photo)

Published Jun 6, 2024 1:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Israeli Defense Force was quick to deny earlier reports coming from the Houthi in Yemen that they had successfully targeted and attacked vessels in the port of Haifa. Despite this, Iran’s Meher news agency published a photo of an explosion and a report of “several powerful blasts” of unknown origin in Haifa.

Reuters is saying there were no reports of an incident in Haifa while noting that “previous claims by Iran-backed groups have later been proven to be exaggerated or fabricated.”

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Saree posted a message to their social media channels claiming a series of attacks on the northern port city on the Mediterranean. He said they were staged jointly with the Iraqi Islamic Resistance in retaliation for Israel’s most recent strikes on Gaza. Further, he said, Israel “must expect more qualitative joint operations.”

Analysts are noting that it is the first time the Houthi have claimed to be working in alliance with any of the other forces in the region. Western leaders have feared a further escalation of the war in Gaza if other Iranian proxies become involved.

“The first targeted two ships carrying military equipment in the port of Haifa, while the second targeted a ship that violated the decision to ban entry to the port,” according to the statements. He claimed the strikes were carried out with UAVs and were “accurate.”

There are no reports about where the attack was staged. The Houthis have claimed to have expanded their range and recently claimed attacks on two ships in the Mediterranean. Both vessels appeared to be in an Egyptian anchorage north of the Suez Canal with no confirmation of any activity.

The leader of Houthis, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, also took to the airwaves today to say they will not back down in their support of Gaza. He also asserted that the United States Navy was fearful of their attacks and moved the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower north toward Jeddah, Saudi Arabia “for fear of being hit again.” He said the carrier would remain a target when in range.

The Houthi in recent days have released reports of multiple attacks on merchant vessels although none have been confirmed by the UK and US militaries or independent security consultants. The closest was a report of an explosion near an unnamed vessel in the Red Sea that was reported to not have caused any damage.

The EU force Operation Aspides is reporting today that the Italian frigate Virginio Fasan “successfully repelled a UAV attack.” They said it came while providing close protection to an unnamed merchant ship.