On Sunday, the crews of three Houthi boats were killed when U.S. Navy helicopters sank their vessels. This action was taken in response to the terrorists’ attempt to hijack a commercial vessel, which had sent out a distress call due to being under siege.
“On Dec. 31 at 6:30am (Sanaa time) the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting being under attack by four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats. The small boats, originating from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, fired crew served and small arms weapons at the MAERSK HANGZHOU, getting to within 20 meters of the vessel, and attempted to board the vessel. A contract embarked security team on the MAERSK HANZGHOU returned fire,” Central Command (Centcom) outlined in an issued statement.
“U.S. helicopters from the USS EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and GRAVELY (DDG 107) responded to the distress call and in the process of issuing verbal calls to the small boats, the small boats fired upon the U.S. helicopters with crew served weapons and small arms. The U.S. Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area. There was no damage to U.S. personnel or equipment,” Centcom said.
Iranian-backed Houthi small boats attack merchant vessel and U.S. Navy helicopters in Southern Red Sea
On Dec. 31 at 6:30am (Sanaa time) the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting being under attack by four Iranian-backed… pic.twitter.com/pj8NAzjbVF
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 31, 2023
The U.S. military’s recent action marks the first instance of Houthi crews being killed in response to their attack on commercial vessels and U.S. ships in the Red Sea since October. Since then, there have been a total of 23 attacks by the Houthis on commercial vessels, resulting in varying degrees of damage.
Previously, the U.S. Navy had intercepted drones and missiles launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, but had not directly engaged with Houthi forces. This incident appears to be the first time that Houthi forces have targeted U.S. Navy helicopters, and Pentagon officials have consistently asserted the right to self-defense for the U.S. military.
The U.S. Navy’s counterstrike follows widespread criticism of the Biden administration’s efforts to establish an international coalition aimed at deterring Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, which has been perceived as ineffective.
Troubled Waters for U.S.-led Red Sea Task Force as Biden Call Ignored https://t.co/eDppwFGUxQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 29, 2023
In spite of the coalition’s declaration, the Houthis persisted in their assaults, causing commercial shippers to remain cautious about navigating the Red Sea and opting for a longer alternative route.
Moreover, the reluctance of U.S. allies to join the coalition or commit significant naval assets and personnel to it was evident.
Recently, Centcom started asserting that the Houthis were specifically targeting U.S. ships.
Worth noting this is the first time the American DoD has admitted a US warship was the intended target of a Houthi drone/missile attack. They have studiously avoided doing so in previous attacks. https://t.co/uvW4G8yQ23 pic.twitter.com/3uVXCdwLV6
— Patrick Fox (@RealCynicalFox) December 24, 2023