U.S., UK Shoot Down 21 Drones and Missiles

U.S., UK Shoot Down 21 Drones and Missiles

Naval elements of the United States and the United Kingdom stationed in the Red Sea repelled a significant aerial assault launched by Houthi militants on Tuesday, January 9.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said this was the largest attack by the Houthi rebels, Knewz.com has learned.

U.S. and UK warships and naval forces in the Red Sea, including the British warship HMS Diamond, downed a total of 21 drones and missiles launched by the Iran-backed militant organization on Tuesday.

The U.S. Central Command said that the units that were shot down included 18 drones, two anti-ship cruise missiles and one anti-ship ballistic missile, Reuters reported.

According to the news agency, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said in a televised speech that the latest salvo targeted a U.S. ship that was “providing support” to Israel, adding that the assault was in response to an American attack that left 10 militants dead, referring to a U.S. confrontation on January 1.

U.S. Navy elements in the Red Sea fired upon Houthi rebels when they attacked a Singapore-flagged vessel, Maersk Hangzhou, on January 1. The confrontation resulted in the death of 10 Houthi militants, The Associated Press reported, citing acknowledgment from the militant organization.

American Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on a trip to Bahrain that further provocation from the Houthi rebels could result in a Western military response, according to The Guardian.

“I’m not going to telegraph or preview anything that might happen. All I can tell you again, we’ve made clear … that if this continues, as it did yesterday, there will be consequences,” Blinken said.

The UK’s Grant Shapps described the situation at the Red Sea as “unsustainable,” adding, “This cannot continue and cannot be allowed to continue.” He told reporters to “watch this space” when asked about further possible military action by the UK and its international partners, per Reuters.

Shapps also said that the Western allies of the UK, along with Saudi Arabia, were all in agreement that the trend of attacks on warships as well as merchant ships in the Red Sea “cannot continue” and did not rule out striking Houthi military targets on land, The Guardian reported.

At the press briefing, he also directly accused Iran of helping the Yemeni rebels with intelligence and surveillance.

“The UK alongside allies have previously made clear that these illegal attacks are completely unacceptable and if continued the Houthis will bear the consequences,” Shapps further told reporters, according to The Guardian, resonating with the statement from the U.S. Secretary of State.

The latest attack, the 26th one orchestrated by Houthi rebels since November 19, 2023, came within weeks of the U.S. and 12 of its allies issuing a “final warning” to the militant group to cease its attacks on the Red Sea or face dire consequences.

“Let our message now be clear: we call for the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews,” reads the statement, which was signed by the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Houthi rebels have been plaguing the significant shipping lanes of the Red Sea, which handles as much as 12% of the world’s commercial traffic, by mounting attacks on commercial vessels crossing the region, in response to the ongoing ground offensive in the Gaza enclave by the Israel Defense Forces.

White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby recently commented on the matter, per The Associated Press, saying:

“As the President has made clear, the United States does not seek conflict with any nation or actor in the Middle East, nor do we want to see the war between Israel and Hamas widen in the region… But neither will we shrink from the task of defending ourselves, our interests, our partners, or the free flow of international commerce.”

While things were quiet for a short while in the Red Sea after the “warning” was issued, the Foreign Ministry of Germany noted that the latest attacks are a “clear escalation,” according to Reuters.

Source » msn.com