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A ship alleged to be the CMA CGM Symi.

Israeli Owned Ship Was Attacked by Iranian-Made Drone While Sailing Indian Ocean

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by Susan Katz Keating

A Houthi spokesman and an Iranian spokesman did not immediately respond to requests from Soldier of Fortune regarding the drone attack.

An Iranian-made drone attacked a container ship underway in the Indian Ocean on Saturday, a U.S. defense official said. The ship, the Malta-flagged CMA CGM Symi, is owned by a company with ties to an Israeli billionaire.

The ship was targeted by a bomb-laden Shahed-136 drone while in international waters, the official said. The drone is made by Iran, and has been used by Houthi rebels.

The crew is unharmed and the ship remains seaworthy, according to a statement from Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, which owns the vessel. Images on social media show unconfirmed photos claiming to depict the vessel spewing thick, black smoke.

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The Iranian-made Shahed-136 is 11 feet long, with a wingspan of just more than eight feet. It has a range of 1,600 miles from the point of lauch. It was used by Houthis in the Yemeni Civil War during 2020. A Russian version has been used in Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

A Houthi spokesman and an Iranian spokesman did not immediately respond to a request from Soldier of Fortune regarding the strike on the Symi.

The attack follows recent assaults and attempted drone strikes against seagoing targets.

Houthi fighters claim to have captured the crew of the Galaxy Leader, a cargo ship that was seized on Nov. 19 as it transited the Red Sea. Houthis claimed on Nov. 19 that they hijacked the ship and are holding the crew, whose fate remains unknown.

READ MORE: Iran-Backed Houthi Fighters Hijack Ship They Thought is Owned by Israel

Also in the Red Sea, drones were launched on Thanksgiving Day against the U.S. Navy’s USS Thomas Hudner.

“On the morning (Yemen time) of November 23, the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) shot down multiple one-way attack drones launched from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement. “The drones were shot down while the U.S. warship was on patrol in the Red Sea. The ship and crew sustained no damage or injury.”

A Houthi spokesman, meanwhile, claimed that his group fired missiles against Israeli military ground targets last week.

“The Yemeni missile force fired a salvo of winged missiles at various military targets of the #Israeli entity in Umm al-Rashrash, southern occupied #Palestine,” Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’e wrote Wednesday on social media. He pledged that his group would continue to attack Israeli military targets.

In February 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Biden Administration had removed the Houthis from the U.S. list of officially designated terrorists. 

Susan Katz Keating is the publisher and editor in chief of Soldier of Fortune.

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