UK says it thwarted Houthis’ drone attack in the Red Sea

UK says Houthis attacked British military vessel in the Red Sea, resulting in no damage and no injuries.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney
A US Navy ship in the Red Sea [File: Aaron Lau/AFP]

A UK vessel shot down a Houthi drone in the Red Sea, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has said, as tensions in the Middle East soar amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

“Yesterday HMS Diamond successfully repelled a drone attack from the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea,” read a statement from the ministry published on Sunday on X.

“Diamond destroyed a drone targeting her, with no injuries or damage sustained to Diamond or her crew,” it added.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.

The Yemen-based group previously pledged to target Israel-linked vessels in the region as part of an effort to pressure the country’s government to end its bombardment of Gaza and allow more humanitarian aid supplies into the coastal Palestinian enclave.

Gaza has been under heavy bombardment by Israeli forces since October 7, when Hamas fighters stormed communities in southern Israel, killing at least 1,139 people and taking about 240 others captive, according to Israeli officials. At least 26,400 people in Gaza have been killed in the Israeli assault since, according to Palestinian authorities in the territory.

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have caused major disruption to global commerce as the area is a key artery for maritime trade.

Some of the world’s largest shipping companies have suspended operations in the region, instead sending their cargo vessels on a longer route around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, slowing trade between Asia and Europe.

In response to the Houthi strikes on dozens of commercial vessels, the UK and United States launched multiple air raids targeting Houthi military positions, including missile depots and launcher sites, in Yemen.

The US also re-designated the Houthis as a “terrorist” organisation. US President Joe Biden had delisted the group in 2021.

The Houthis responded to the strikes by expanding the threat to any US and UK-linked vessels in the region.

The Houthi have seized large swathes of northern Yemen since launching an offensive against the government in 2014. The war forced internationally recognised Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his cabinet to relocate to the southern port city of Aden, while it also triggered a brutal air bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia.

A truce has been in place since April 2022 as talks progressed between the Houthis and Riyadh over a permanent ceasefire.

Source: Al Jazeera