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US Navy Seahawk Helicopters Sink 3 Houthi Attack Boats in the Red Sea

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US Navy SH-60 Seahawk helicopters fired and sank three small boats carrying Houthi militants in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to US military officials. The SH-60 Seahawk helicopters were responding to a distress call from a Singaporean merchant vessel.

The Singapore-flagged Maersk container ship Hangzhou issued a distress call at 6:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement from US Central Command on Sunday. The merchant ship reported that four tiny boats were attacking it.

“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,” the U.S. Central Command stated.

According to US sources, US Navy helicopters from two US ships, the USS Eisenhower and the USS Gravely, responded and delivered voice calls to the small boats.

While the helicopters were “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,” according to Central Command. According to the US Navy, three Houthi boats attacked a commerce ship in the Red Sea.

US Navy

US Navy Seahawks from USS Eisenhower and USS Gravely

After responding to a distress call from a merchant vessel, US Navy helicopters returned fire and sank three small boats carrying Houthi militants in the Red Sea on Sunday, military authorities told Reuters.

The Singapore-flagged Maersk container ship Hangzhou issued a distress call at 6:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement from US Central Command on Sunday. The merchant ship reported that four tiny boats were attacking it.

“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,” the U.S. Central Command stated.

According to US sources, helicopters from two US ships, the USS Eisenhower and the USS Gravely, responded and delivered voice calls to the small boats.

While the helicopters were “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,” according to Central Command.

According to US sources, service personnel aboard the Navy helicopters returned fire and sank three of the four small boats, killing the crews. The fourth boat sailed away from the area.

Red Sea US Navy

Houthis Vow to Continue Attacks

The Iranian back Houthis said in a statement Sunday that they carried out the strike because the ship’s crew refused to follow warnings. He said that ten Houthi naval men were “dead and missing” after their ships were targeted by US forces in the Red Sea.

The organization also stated that it will continue to operate in the Red Sea. “The American enemy bears the consequences of this crime and its repercussions,” according to the group.

The group also stated that it will “not hesitate to confront any aggression” against Yemen and underlined its “advice to all countries not to be drawn into American plans aimed at igniting the conflict in the Red Sea.”

The naval clash highlights the possibility of a regional escalation in warfare as Israel continues its unrelenting bombing campaign in the aftermath of a Hamas surprise cross-border onslaught on Israeli communities on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people and captured 240 captives. According to Gazan health officials, Israel’s air and artillery assault has killed around 21,800 people.

Since November, the Iranian-backed Houthis have been targeting vessels in the Red Sea to demonstrate their support for Hamas, forcing large shipping corporations to take the longer and more expensive route via Africa’s Cape of Good Hope rather than through the Suez Canal.

US Navy Red Sea

Campaign to protect ships in Red Sea

The Red Sea serves as the entry point for ships using the Suez Canal, which handles around 12% of global trade and is critical for goods flow between Asia and Europe.

On December 19, the United States announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, announcing that more than 20 countries had committed to join the campaign to protect ships in Red Sea waters near Yemen.

Maersk, one of the world’s largest cargo carriers, said on December 24 that it would restart operations in the Red Sea. However, attacks have continued, and the United States’ partners have been hesitant to commit to the coalition, with over half refusing to declare their participation publicly.

The failed Houthi boarding operation was the second in two days aboard the Maersk Hangzhou. The ship, which was carrying 14,000 containers from Singapore, was hit by a missile on Saturday around 55 nautical miles southwest of Al Hodeidah, Yemen.

The Maersk Hangzhou crew was safe, according to the shipping firm, and there was no sign of fire onboard the vessel, which continued north toward the Suez Canal.

Attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi terrorists have disrupted maritime trade through the Suez Canal, with some vessels re-routing to a considerably longer East-West route along the southern tip of Africa.

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