A Pro-government Yemeni coastguard member in a patrol boat in the Red Sea on December 12, 2023. © Khaled Ziad, AFP

Houthis continue to threaten the Red Sea


Sat, 16-12-2023 05:09 PM, Aden

Red Sea (South24)

The US Central Command announced today the shooting down of 14 drones launched from areas controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.

The Central Command said in a statement on 'X' [formerly Twitter]: “In the early morning hours of December 16 (Sanna time) the US Arliegh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS CARNEY (DDG 64), operating in the Red Sea, successfully engaged 14 unmanned aerial systems (UAS) launched as a drone wave from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen."

“The UAS were assessed to be one-way attack drones and were shot down with no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries. Regional Red Sea partners were alerted to the threat," the statement added.

The statement came hours after the Houthis announced a new attack on Israel. Military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sarea said: “We attacked Israeli targets in Eilat with a large number of drones.”

Related: The Dangerous Houthis Escalation in the Red Sea 

Egyptian news channel 'AlQahera News' said, “Egyptian air defenses shot down a flying object 1.5 kilometers from the coast of the city of Dahab on the Red Sea.”

Yesterday, two international shipping companies suspended their activity in the Red Sea after several attacks by the Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi militia within 48 hours.

The Danish company Maersk, the largest shipping company in the world, announced the suspension of its operations in the Red Sea, one day after a Houthi attack (Thursday) targeted its cargo ship MAERSK GIBRALTAR as it was passing through Bab al-Mandab.

The Houthis said the attack against MAERSK GIBRALTAR was carried out with a drone, but a US defense official told the Associated Press that the attack was carried out with a missile that exploded in the air without damage.

In response to the Houthi drone attack on the AL JASRAH container ship yesterday, the German shipping company Hapag Lloyd announced the suspension of its navigation activity in the Red Sea for three days.

The attack on AL JASRAH coincided with two other Houthi attacks with naval missiles against the container ships (MSC Alanya) and (MSC PALATIUM III) in the Red Sea.

Through a military spokesman, the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack on the two ships (MSC Alanya) and (MSC PALATIUM III), but they did not refer to the AL JASRAH ship.

The Houthis' pretext for launching the attacks was that these ships did not comply with the militia's orders not to sail towards Israeli ports.

The Houthis have used this argument to attack about a dozen commercial and military ships in the Red Sea since November 15.

Today, French shipping company CMA CGM paused all container shipments through the Red Sea in the wake of the Houthis' attacks on commercial vessels, according to Reuters.

In a press conference yesterday, Germany's minister for foreign affairs Annalena Baerbock condemned the Houthi attack on the AL JASRAH ship. “These attacks must stop immediately,” the minister said.

The German Ministry of Defense said that it is studying an American request to participate in a naval coalition to confront Houthi threats in the Red Sea.

This was announced by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Friday evening. “We are currently considering the demand and available options.” "But we have not reached a decision yet," the dpa [German Press Agency] news agency quoted Boris.

On Thursday, Iran's Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani warned of establishing a US-led military coalition in the Red Sea.

The Iranian ISNA news agency quoted him saying: “The Red Sea is considered a special area for Iran. Certainly no one can maneuver in the area that we control.”

The Yemeni Minister of Information in the internationally recognized government, Muammar Al-Eryani, condemned Ashtiani's statements on 'X' saying “we call on the international community to confront the Iranian regime.”

In a statement to Al Arabiya channel [Saudi media outlet], Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak said: “The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are a disaster for the Yemeni people and may create a regional and international war.”

It is possible that a US-led military coalition will be announced to confront Houthi naval attacks. As another option, the Combined Maritime Task Force (CTF-153) based in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab, and Gulf of Aden may be expanded.

South24 Center

YemenHouthisRed SeaIsraelShipsDronesUS