Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen's Houthis, is anchored off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, December, 2023

US Military Destroys Iran-backed Houthi Patrol Boats and Drone

Friday, 06/14/2024

The US military announced on Thursday that it destroyed two Houthi patrol boats, an uncrewed surface vessel, and a drone over the Red Sea in a move to weaken the Iran-supported group’s capabilities.

“This ongoing malicious and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” stated US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The Houthis, an Iranian proxy group, began targeting maritime commercial traffic in mid-November following a call by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for Muslim countries to blockade Israel. Initially confined to the Red Sea, these attacks have since extended to other crucial waterways, including the Indian Ocean.

“The Houthis claim to act on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza, yet they are targeting and endangering the lives of nationals from third countries who are unrelated to the Gaza conflict,” said CENTCOM.

According to Yahya Saree, the Iran-aligned group's military spokesman, the Houthis attacked the Verbena in the Arabian Sea as well as the Seaguardian and Athina in the Red Sea.

The attack on the Palau-flagged cargo ship Verbena resulted in a fire and severely injured one crew member, as reported by CENTCOM.

The rebels also launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles from a Houthi-controlled area in Yemen into the Red Sea. However, CENTCOM confirmed that these missiles caused no damage or injuries.

The United States and Britain have bombed Houthi military installations several times since January, but the Iran-backed group has accelerated attacks in the past two weeks, as Israel continues operations in Gaza and attacks Iran-backed Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.

The Houthi campaign has disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa. It has also stoked fears that the Gaza war - in which the local health ministry says over 37,000 have been killed - could spread and destabilize the wider Middle East.

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