Red Sea: US, UK and French destroy dozens of Houthi drones

US, British and French forces say they repelled a series of Iranian-backed Houthi attacks off the coast of Yemen.

US military said at least 28 uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) were downed over the Red Sea early on Saturday.

Along with coalition forces, the US said it acted after determining the “large-scale” attack “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels”.

The Houthis said they had targeted a commercial ship, Propel Fortune, and a number of US destroyers.

A statement from the US Central Command said no US or coalition military vehicles were damaged and there were no reports of damage from commercial ships.

Since November, the Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians during Israel’s war in Gaza.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the Royal Navy frigate HMS Richmond downed two drones launched by the Houthis on Friday night.

Mr Shapps said: “The UK and our allies will continue to take the action necessary to save lives and protect freedom of navigation.”

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Type 23 frigate and international allies “fully repelled” a Houthi drone attack with no injuries or damage sustained.

A French warship and fighter jets also shot down four drones to stop an attack targeting a European naval mission and a cargo ship being towed in the Gulf of Aden.

The mission was protecting a cargo ship, True Confidence, which was being towed after it had been struck by a missile on Wednesday.

Three sailors were killed – two Filipinos and one Vietnamese – the first fatalities since the Houthis started their attacks.

The recent wave of attacks has been one of the largest by the Houthis.

As a result, vessels using the Red Sea have been diverting around southern Africa rather than using the Suez Canal between Europe and Asia, adding to costs and creating a potential global economic risk.

The latest action suggests that despite repeated strikes by the US and UK against sites linked to Houthi activity, there seems to be little sign of the threat to shipping abating.

Source: BBC

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