Aden Yemen, (ANN)- U.S., French and British forces downed dozens of drones in the Red Sea area overnight and on Saturday after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis targeted bulk carrier Propel Fortune and U.S. destroyers in the region.

The Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November in what they say is a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians during Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.


The group’s military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech on Saturday they targeted the cargo vessel and “a number of U.S. war destroyers at the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden with 37 drones”.

U.S. Navy ships and aircraft shot down 15 uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) by the Houthis in the Red Sea area, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said earlier on Saturday.

The military was responding to a large-scale attack the group launched into the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m (0100-0330 GMT), CENTCOM said in a post on social media platform X”
The UAVs were determined to present “an imminent threat to merchant vessels, U.S. Navy, and coalition ships in the region”, it said.

A French warship and fighter jets also shot down four combat drones that were advancing towards naval vessels belonging to the European Aspides mission in the region, a French army statement said.

“This defensive action directly contributed to the protection of the cargo ship True Confidence, under the Barbados flag, which was struck on March 6 and is being towed, as well as other commercial vessels transiting in the area,” it said.
France has a warship in the area as well as warplanes at its bases in Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said that its warship HMS Richmond had joined international allies in repelling a Houthi drone attack overnight, saying no injuries or damage were sustained.

“Last night, HMS Richmond used its Sea Ceptor missiles to shoot down two attack drones – successfully repelling yet another illegal attack by the Iranian backed Houthis,” defence minister Grant Shapps said on X.
The UK and our allies will continue to take the action necessary to save lives and protect freedom of navigation.”

Three seafarers were killed on Wednesday in a missile strike by the Houthis on the Greek-operated True Confidence, the first civilian casualties since the group started its attacks on the key shipping route.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) also confirmed that there was an attempted attack on the Singapore-flagged Propel Fortune.
It said the shipping company reported two explosions in close vicinity of the bulk carrier, but all crew on board were safe and the vessel was proceeding to its next port of call.

“Based on sources, Propel Fortune, was likely targeted due to outdated US ownership data,” UKMTO said in a statement.

Sarea said the Houthis would continue their attacks “until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted”.

Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari Writing by Adam Makary, John Irish and Alistair Smout, Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Frances Kerry
A Houthi military spokesman, named Yahya Saree, said that the group carried out two military operations, the first of which targeted a US cargo ship that was passing through the Gulf of Aden.

In the second operation, Saree said that several other US military vessels were targeted in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

This week, at least three crew members were killed in a Houthi missile attack in the Gulf of Aden, the US military said, the first deaths reported since the Yemeni group began attacking ships in transit. which is the busiest passage saying they are retaliating against Israel’s war in Gaza.

The Houthis said on Wednesday that the attack, carried out on a ship belonging to the country of Liberia, was flying the flag of Barbados.

The US-led naval coalition has been operating in the waters since December 2023 in an attempt to prevent Houthi attacks. US forces have also bombed what they say are Houthi attacks in Yemen.

Source: Reuters