Houthi rebels from Yemen have once again launched six missiles toward two merchant ships in the Red Sea on Tuesday (6/2/2024) local time. The United States military (US) reported that one of the ships sustained minor damage.

"The Iran-backed Houthi militants fired six anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen towards the Southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden," said US Central Command (CENTCOM) in a statement, as quoted by AFP.

Three of the missiles were aimed at the MV Star Nasia, a bulk carrier flagged under the Marshall Islands and owned and operated by Greece.

The MV Star Nasia reported an explosion near the ship causing minor damage but no casualties, while the second missile then landed nearby and the third missile was shot down by a US destroyer," CENTCOM said.

The other three missiles appeared to be targeting the MV Morning Tide, a British-flagged cargo ship registered in Barbados, but exploded in the Red Sea without causing damage.

The missile attack occurred three days after US and British forces launched airstrikes against the Iran-backed group. This marks the third round of joint US-UK military action in response to attacks in the Red Sea.

The Houthi group previously claimed responsibility for attacking US and British ships in two separate incidents in the Red Sea.

The Iran-backed rebels have disrupted navigation in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestine amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said the first attack on Tuesday "targeted the American ship Star Nasia, while the other attack targeted the British ship Morning Tide."

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have prompted several shipping companies to reroute around the southern tip of Africa to avoid the vital waterway that typically carries about 12% of global maritime trade.

Most trade between Asia and Europe usually passes through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal leading to the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the International Monetary Fund's PortWatch platform, total transit volume through the Suez Canal was down 37% this year on January 16 compared to the same period last year.