July 18, 2024

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U.S. Navy kills Houthi rebels attacking Maersk Ship in Red Sea

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Since Operation Prosperity Guardian was announced just over 10 days ago, 1,200 merchant ships have traveled through the Red Sea region, and none had been hit by drone or missile strikes, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said in an Associated Press interview, although the U.S. military said that one ship reported being struck by a missile late Saturday.

Cooper said earlier that day that additional countries are expected to sign on to the mission. Denmark was the latest, announcing Friday it plans to send a frigate to the mission that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced during a visit to Bahrain, where the Navy’s 5th Fleet is based, saying that “this is an international challenge that demands collective action.”

The Iran-backed Houthis, who say their attacks are aimed at Israel-linked ships in an effort to stop the Israeli offensive in Gaza, fired on the same container ship in two separate incidents over the weekend, drawing a U.S. military response.

The narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait connects the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and then the Suez Canal. The crucial trade route links markets in Asia and Europe. The seriousness of the attacks, several of which have damaged vessels, led multiple shipping companies to order their vessels to hold in place and not enter the strait until the security situation improved. Some major shippers were sending their ships around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, adding time and costs to the journeys.

Currently there are five warships from the United States, France, and the United Kingdom patrolling the waters of the southern Red Sea and the western Gulf of Aden, said Cooper, who heads the 5th Fleet. Since the operation started, the ships have shot down a total of 17 drones and four anti-ship ballistic missiles, he said.

The U.S. military said Saturday it shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired toward a Maersk container ship in the Red Sea after the ship reported it had been hit by a missile. Two…

Rebecca Santana, The Associated Press

2023-12-31 12:04:13

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