US and Yemen’s Houthis exchange gunfire in first clash with deaths in Red Sea

Sanaa, December 31 (EFE).- The United States today took a strong step in protecting international maritime security by sinking three boats with Shiite Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, in response to an attack by Iran-backed rebels. A ship of the Danish shipping company Maersk.

It is the first time the United States has directly confronted the rebels since the Houthis declared war on Israel in favor of the Gaza population more than two months ago and have caused an unknown number of deaths in their ranks.

So far, the Houthis have not claimed responsibility for the action against the Singapore-flagged Maersk Heinzghou, which was attacked near Al Hodeida port, one of the most important in Yemen and controlled by rebels.

What happened?

Maersk Heinzgau warned of two attacks in the Red Sea in less than 24 hours, involving a naval coalition led by the United States and of which the United Kingdom is a part.

The first incident occurred last night when the United States Naval Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that it had shot down two anti-ship missiles that were targeting a container ship and were launched from rebel-controlled territory.

But the trigger happened in the early hours of this morning when four small boats approached the merchant ship to board it.

CENTCOM said in a lengthy statement today that “at 6:30 a.m. local time (3:30 GMT), the container ship Maersk Hangzhou issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting that it was being attacked by four small Houthi The ships were attacked by Iran.”

Those who were on the said ships “fired” at the container ship with small-caliber weapons, coming closer than 20 meters to the ship, and tried to board it.

However, “a security team boarded the Maersk Heinzgau and began returning fire,” he said.

According to various maritime tracking websites, ships transiting the Red Sea and the Bab el Mandeb Strait have armed personnel on board and signal this when releasing their position.

US Naval forces indicated that following this exchange of gunfire, “US helicopters responded to the distress call and in the process of issuing verbal calls to small boats, they fired upon the US helicopters with the crew’s weapons and ammunition.” “Ki. Halki”.

CENTCOM concluded in the statement, “US helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats and killing their crew members. The fourth boat fled the area. No personal or property damage. Hui.”

threat to maritime security

This is a serious incident in the Red Sea and the most serious that the naval coalition maintained by the United States has recently faced.

The new British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in his official statement today.

“I have made clear that Iran bears responsibility for stopping these attacks, given its long-standing support for the Houthis,” he said.

Iran has sought to dissociate itself from actions by the Houthis in this strategic commercial route.

Two months ago, rebels launched a barrage of missiles and drones against southern Israel and against ships flying the Jewish state flag or owned by Israeli companies in the Red Sea and the Bab el Mandeb Strait.

After suspending transit through that area, the Danish shipping company Maersk decided to resume its route through the Red Sea a few days ago when the United States announced the creation of a new naval alliance to protect international maritime security. of.

By Khalid Abdullah

(c) EFE Agency

(TagstoTranslate)United States of America(T)Red Sea(T)Singapore flag(T)Security team(T)Maritime security

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