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US and Britain say their navies shot down 15 assault drones over the Pink Sea

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LONDON — A U.S. warship shot down 14 suspected assault drones over the Pink Sea on Saturday, and a Royal Navy destroyer downed one other drone that was focusing on business ships, the British and American militaries mentioned.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have launched a sequence of assaults on vessels within the Pink Sea, one of many world’s busiest transport routes, and have launched drones and missiles focusing on Israel, because the Israel-Hamas warfare threatens to unfold.

U.S. Central Command mentioned that the destroyer USS Carney “efficiently engaged 14 unmanned aerial techniques” launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The drones “had been shot down with no injury to ships within the space or reported accidents,” Central Command tweeted.

U.Okay. Protection Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned that HMS Diamond fired a Sea Viper missile and destroyed a drone that was “focusing on service provider transport.” The in a single day motion is the primary time the Royal Navy has shot down an aerial goal in anger because the 1991 Gulf Battle.

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Shapps mentioned assaults on business ships within the international commerce artery by Yemen’s Houthi rebels “characterize a direct menace to worldwide commerce and maritime safety.”

“The U.Okay. stays dedicated to repelling these assaults to guard the free circulation of world commerce,” he mentioned in an announcement.

HMS Diamond was despatched to the area two weeks in the past as a deterrent, becoming a member of vessels from the U.S., France and different international locations.

International transport has turn out to be a goal through the warfare between Israel and Hamas, which just like the Houthis is backed by Iran.

Houthi rebels mentioned they fired a barrage of drones on Saturday towards the port metropolis of Eilat in southern Israel. The announcement got here hours after Egypt’s state-run media reported that Egyptian air protection had shot down a “flying object” off the Egyptian resort city of Dahab on the Pink Sea.

Israeli-linked vessels even have been focused, however the menace to commerce has grown as container ships and oil tankers flagged to international locations like Norway and Liberia have been attacked or drawn missile fireplace whereas traversing the waterway between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Earlier this month, three business ships within the Pink Sea had been struck by ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen. A U.S. warship shot down three drones through the assault, the U.S. army mentioned.

French container transport line CMA CGM Group mentioned Saturday it had ordered all its vessels scheduled to cross by the Pink Sea to “pause their journey in secure waters with instant impact till additional discover.”

On Friday, Maersk, the world’s greatest transport firm, additionally informed all its vessels planning to cross by the Bab el-Mandeb Strait within the Pink Sea to cease their journeys after a missile assault on a Liberian-flagged cargo ship. German-based shipper Hapag-Lloyd mentioned it was pausing all of its container ship visitors by the Pink Sea till Monday.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam mentioned Saturday that the rebels have engaged in “communications and discussions” with worldwide events, brokered by Oman, on the Houthis’ assaults on ships within the Pink and Arabian seas.

He tweeted that the Houthis would proceed focusing on Israel-linked vessels “till the aggression stops” and the siege of Gaza is lifted. He added that “any real steps responding to the humanitarian scenario in Palestine and Gaza by bringing in meals and medication would contribute to lowering the escalation.”


Samy Magdy contributed to this report from Cairo.

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