American Ship Thwarts Drone Attacks
In a significant escalation of hostilities in the Red Sea, a U.S. Navy warship successfully shot down 14 drones launched by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists based in Yemen on Saturday. The attack comes as tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to rise and follows a series of attacks on commercial ships in the region.
The U.S. Central Command confirmed that the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney intercepted and destroyed the unmanned aerial systems in the early hours of Saturday morning. According to CENTCOM, the drones were launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and were classified as “one-way attack drones.” No damage to U.S. ships or injuries was reported, and regional partners in the Red Sea were alerted to the threat.
The U.K. also reported a similar incident, with Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announcing that the Royal Navy’s HMS Diamond had successfully shot down a terrorist drone in the Red Sea on Saturday. A statement from the British military indicated that the drone was intercepted using a Sea Viper missile.
The attack on Saturday follows multiple Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea on Friday. CENTCOM revealed that Houthi forces had contacted the motor vessel MSC Alanya, a Liberian-flagged ship, and threatened to attack it. The vessel was directed to turn around, but it continued north under the watch of U.S. forces.
HMS Diamond, one of the Navy's most advanced warships, swiftly intercepted and neutralised a potential threat to merchant vessels in the Red Sea using a Sea Viper missile.
— Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) December 16, 2023
The Houthis then launched a UAV attack on the motor vessel Al Jasrah, causing a fire on board. The vessel immediately sent out a distress signal, and the USS Mason responded to the emergency. Later, two ballistic missiles were launched toward international shipping lanes in the Bab el-Mandeb strait, with one striking the Liberian-flagged ship MV Palatium 3. The second missile likely missed any vessels.
The increasing frequency of Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea has raised concerns about the safety of global trade, prompting responses from countries like the U.S. and the U.K. In August, the U.S. Navy reported that the Iranian regime was providing military and financial backing to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, in a bid to gain control of strategic waterways in the region.
The U.S. has also accused Iran of being behind a series of recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, further heightening tensions between the two countries. Reports have indicated that the U.S. and its allies are preparing to respond to Iran’s aggression, with the possibility of military action being on the table.
As the situation in the region continues to escalate, the U.S. has made it clear that it will not stand for attacks on its forces or its allies. The successful interception of the 14 drones on Saturday serves as a strong warning to the Houthis and their backers that the U.S. will not hesitate to take action to protect its interests.