Middle east

Houthis Execute Largest Attack on Ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

The U.S. military and allied forces intercepted 28 explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthi rebels towards the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden

The U.S. Army announced, Saturday, that it, along with allied forces, intercepted 28 explosive-laden drones launched by the Yemeni Houthis, backed by Iran, towards the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, marking the largest attack carried out by the rebels.

Following the U.S. announcement, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree stated that the Houthis executed “two qualitative military operations. The first targeted the American ship (Propel Fortune) in the Gulf of Aden with a number of appropriate naval missiles. The second operation targeted a number of American warships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with 37 drones.”

Ship tracking websites indicate that the Propel Fortune ship flies the flag of Singapore, but its current location has not been reported. This attack marks one of the largest attacks by the Houthis since they began targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea in November, suspected to be linked to Israel or heading to its ports, in support of Gaza, which has been witnessing a war between Hamas and Israel since October 7th.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) stated in a release that the Houthi attack was “broad in scope” and occurred before dawn, noting that American forces and their allies saw the drones as “a imminent threat to U.S. commercial and naval ships and coalition ships in the region.”

In a statement on the “X” platform, it added, “U.S. naval ships and aircraft, along with many coalition ships and aircraft, shot down 15 of those drones. These measures are being taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure.”

Paris shot down four of these drones, according to the French Ministry of Defense, which stated in a release that a multi-mission frigate patrolling in the Gulf of Aden spotted “four fighter drones advancing towards it” and “destroyed them with the frigate and French fighters in self-defense.”

On January 9th, the U.S. military announced that it, along with British forces, intercepted 18 drones and three missiles launched by the Houthis towards ships in the Red Sea. London then stated that this was the largest attack by the Houthis, who control large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

In December, the United States established a multinational maritime alliance to protect navigation in the Red Sea in response to Houthi attacks that forced commercial ships to divert their course and avoid the sea lane through which 12 percent of global trade passes.

A missile launched from Yemen hit a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, killing at least three crew members, according to the United States, which vowed to “hold the rebels accountable” for this attack.

The three killed are likely the first casualties to result from a series of maritime attacks carried out by the Houthis since November. Last week, the abandoned ship “Rohm” sank, flying the flag of Belize and operated by a Lebanese company, carrying 21,000 metric tons of ammonium phosphate fertilizer.

In an attempt to deter them and protect maritime navigation, U.S. and British forces have been launching strikes on rebel sites since January 12th, and the U.S. military alone occasionally carries out strikes targeting sites or missiles and drones intended for launch. Following these strikes, the Houthis affirmed that American and British ships have become “legitimate” targets for them.

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