Advertisement

US shoots down 6 Houthi drones aimed at American and coalition warships

Houthi militants in Yemen continued launching attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea on Thursday, firing two anti-ship missiles that struck a cargo ship causing a minor injury and damage to the vessel, according to U.S. Central Command.

The missiles had impacted the M/V Islander a Palau-flagged, U.K.-owned cargo carrier sailing in the Red Sea, according to a CENTCOM statement. Despite the minor injuries and damage to the ship, CENTCOM said it was continuing on its journey.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. military aircraft and warships shot down six Houthi one-way attack drones that posed an imminent threat because they were "likely targeting" U.S. Navy and coalition warships in the Red Sea, the statement said.

PHOTO: Newly recruited Houthi fighters attend a protest march against the U.S.-led strikes on Yemen and the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, Feb. 21, 2024, in Sanaa, Yemen.  (Osamah Abdulrahman/AP)
PHOTO: Newly recruited Houthi fighters attend a protest march against the U.S.-led strikes on Yemen and the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, Feb. 21, 2024, in Sanaa, Yemen. (Osamah Abdulrahman/AP)

MORE: What it's like aboard a US warship on the front lines of the Red Sea fight: Reporter's notebook

ADVERTISEMENT

The Iranian-backed Houthis use Iranian-made missiles and drones in the attacks that they claim are being carried out in support of Hamas in the war with Israel.

On three previous occasions, the United States and coalition partners, including the United Kingdom, have carried out large-scale attacks striking dozens of missile and drone facilities.

U.S. officials insist that the the attacks, along with frequent pre-emptive "self-defense" strikes on missile and drone launchers, have degraded the Houthis capability to carry out the strikes.

PHOTO: Workers repair a crane on Greek-flagged bulk cargo vessel Sea Champion at the port of Aden, Yemen to which it arrived after being attacked in the Red Sea in what appears to have been a mistaken missile strike by Houthi militia, Feb. 21, 2024.  (Fawaz Salman/Reuters)
PHOTO: Workers repair a crane on Greek-flagged bulk cargo vessel Sea Champion at the port of Aden, Yemen to which it arrived after being attacked in the Red Sea in what appears to have been a mistaken missile strike by Houthi militia, Feb. 21, 2024. (Fawaz Salman/Reuters)

MORE: White House defends retaliation against Houthis: 'Deterrence is not a light switch'

It is unclear what percentage of weapons provided Iran over the last decade have been destroyed in the U.S. and coalition airstrikes since the Houthis have been undeterred in launching the attacks on commercial shipping.

Thursday's incidents cap a resurgence of Houthi attacks this week following a brief lull in the attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, the crew of the MV Rubymar abandoned ship after the merchant ship was struck by two anti-ship ballistic missiles were launched from a Houthi controlled area of Yemen.

MORE: Maritime expert weighs in on the economic ripple effects of Houthi attacks

It was uncertain if the a Belize-flagged, U.K.-owned bulk carrier would be able to remain afloat after the attack. The ship's crew was transported to a nearby port by another merchant vessel.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed that an American MQ-9 Reaper drone had been shot down by the Houthis as it flew near the coastal city of Hodeida.

MORE: Houthis shoot down US MQ-9 Reaper drone flying near Yemen

CENTCOM noted that another Houthi missile attack this week had targeted the M/V Sea Champion, a cargo ship that was carrying a humanitarian aid delivery of grain to Aden,Yemen as it has done on 11 previous occasions over the past five years.

"Houthi aggression in the region has exacerbated already high levels of need in conflict-impacted Yemen, which remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with nearly 80 percent of the entire population needing humanitarian assistance," said a CENTCOM statement. "We are committed to countering the Houthis’ malign activities, which directly endanger the imports of foodstuff and humanitarian aid to Yemen."

US shoots down 6 Houthi drones aimed at American and coalition warships originally appeared on abcnews.go.com