Houthis Upping Explosive Drone Boat Swarms, Latest US Navy Intercept Shows
February 9, 2024 | Tags: ZEROHEDGEHouthis Upping Explosive Drone Boat Swarms, Latest US Navy Intercept Shows
Despite what have been at this point dozens of waves of US coalition airstrikes on Yemen, the Houthis are still vowing to eradicate the Red Sea of all hostile foreign ships - meaning Western, Israeli, and their allies' commercial vessels and warships. Prior Houthi statements indicate Russian and Chinese vessels are being given a pass.
The Houthis on Friday have once again demonstrated their defiance, sending an unusually high number of of drone boats against Red Sea vessels, according to a US military statement. This follows days ago a pair of drone boats being destroyed by US missiles.
Since last year, the Houthis have primarily relied upon drones and ballistic missiles, with explosive-laden drone boats making an occasional appearance, but now it appears these 'suicide boats' are seeing greater use.
According to the Associated Press:
The U.S. military conducted new airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, officials said Friday.
American forces destroyed four explosive-loaded drone boats and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missile launchers Thursday that could target vessels in the Red Sea, the U.S. military’s Central Command said.
"They presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region," Central Command said. "These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels."
The US statement leaves it somewhat ambiguous whether the drone boats were actively engaged in an operation near commercial ships at the time they were destroyed.
Earlier this week US intelligence presented what it says is new intelligence confirming that the Houthis' increasingly sophisticated arsenal is being supplied by the Iranians.
"Analysis confirms that Houthi forces have employed various Iranian-origin missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles against military and civilian targets throughout the region," the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) said in a statement, and underscored a tighter relationship developing.
"Since 2014, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force [IRGC-QF] has provided the Houthis a growing arsenal of sophisticated weapons and training," the DIA continued. "Iran’s aid has enabled the Houthis to conduct a campaign of missile and UAV attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea since November 2023."
Germany is the latest Western ally to send an additional frigate to join the coalition in the Red Sea:
Germany is sending a war ship to the Red Sea. The frigate "Hessen" left her home port in Germany today and is scheduled to arrive by the end of February. In case the EU and 🇩🇪 decide on a mandate, the "Hessen" will be ready to protect cargo ships in the Red Sea from attacks. pic.twitter.com/DMU5iV8wee— German Embassy (@GermanyinUSA) February 8, 2024
Like Iran-aligned militia attacks on US bases across Iraq and Syria, the Houthi operations are becoming commonplace and almost daily, to the point that the incidents are largely falling from breaking headlines. What remains clear is that the US-led Operation Coalition Guardian has failed to protect Red Sea shipping, also given almost all major global tanker companies have halted passage through the vital waterway, opting instead to take the longer and more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope.