US Navy Repels “Large-Scale” Houthi Attack Of 15 Suicide Drones

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On Saturday Yemen’s Houthis have launched what international press reports are describing as the one of the group’s largest single attacks since the operation to disrupt Red Sea shipping began last November.

The US Central Command, or CENTCOM, described in a statement that a “large-scale” Houthi attack occurred in both the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden involving over a dozen suicide drones. The day prior, even more had been launched in a wave of attacks. It has been an intense 48 hours in the Red Sea.

US Navy Repels "Large-Scale" Houthi Attack Of 15 Suicide Drones

Coalition naval forces shot down at least 15 drones which CENTCOM said “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels, US Navy and coalition ships in the region.”

The Houthis have long declared they are directly targeting Western coalition warships in regional waters, along with foreign commercial vessels suspected to be en route to Israeli ports.

The US military statement confirmed that “US Navy vessels and aircraft along with multiple coalition navy ships and aircraft shot down 15” of the inbound drones. “These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure.”

The biggest single wave of Houthi drones launched prior to this week had included 18 drones and three missiles, in a January 9th attack.

Friday had also witnessed one of the largest single-day attacks thus far, per an account from the Houthis: 

The attack on Friday targeted the bulk carrier Propel Fortune, which continued on its way, according to the United States military’s Central Command. “The missiles did not impact the vessel,” the U.S. military said. “There were no injuries or damages reported.” The Houthis said Saturday they were behind the attack. Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed that along with targeting the Propel Fortune Attack, the Houthi forces also launched 37 drones targeting American warships.

Last month and this month have been particularly devastating as a UK tanker completely sunk after being struck by missiles, and another Gulf of Aden missile strike on the Barbados-flagged ship ‘True Confidence’ resulted in the deaths of three crew members. Some have argued that given the Western coalition is clearly ineffective in stopping the Houthi attacks, the only solution to the Red Sea crisis is for a ceasefire to take effect in Gaza:

The attack on the True Confidence was the first ever fatal Houthi strike on a ship. The Shia miliary group linked to Iran has vowed to keep up the attacks so long as Israel continues its war in Gaza.