U.S. downs Houthi drones, missiles fired at American warship in Red Sea

U.S. downs Houthi drones, missiles fired at American warship in Red Sea


March 6, 2024 / 6:33 AM EST

Navy admiral on Iran’s support of Houthi militants

Navy admiral explains how Iran supports Houthi militants


Dubai, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. Navy destroyer shot down drones and a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels toward the vessel in the Red Sea, officials said Wednesday, as the Indian navy released images of it fighting a fire aboard a container ship earlier targeted by the Houthis.

The U.S. military’s Central Command said the Houthi’s Tuesday assault had targeted the USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that’s been involved in the U.S.-led campaign against the Iran-backed Yemeni rebels, who call their attacks a response to Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In a third suspected Houthi attack, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center reported an unspecified incident Wednesday 57 nautical miles south of Aden, on the southern Yemeni coast. Private security firm Ambrey said an explosion was reported near a vessel, but there were few other details immediately available.

Iran says it’s seizing oil cargo destined for ChevronIran, the Houthis’ primary backer, said Wednesday that it would confiscate a $50 million cargo of Kuwaiti crude oil that had been destined for American energy firm Chevron Corp. The cargo is aboard a tanker that Iranian forces seized nearly a year ago. It marks the latest twist in a yearslong shadow war playing out in the Mideast’s waterways even before the Houthi attacks began.

Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Advantage Sweet sails at Marmara sea near Istanbul, Turkey, in a Jan. 10, 2023 file photo.


Iran announced the seizure of the oil on the Advantage Sweet with a statement carried by the Mizan news agency, which is run by the Islamic republic’s judiciary.

Iranian commandos rappelled from a helicopter down onto the vessel in late April 2023, which Iran claimed had collided with another ship, without offering any evidence.

The court order for the seizure announced on Wednesday offered an entirely different reason for the confiscation, however. 

A screengrab from video released on April 28, 2023 by the Iranian Navy, shows Iranian marines rappelling onto the deck of the Advantage Sweet, a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker, in the Gulf of Oman.

Iranian Navy handout via AP

Mizan said it was part of a court order over U.S. sanctions that alleged barred the importation of a Swedish medicine used to treat patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic condition that causes blisters all over the body and eyes. It did not reconcile the different reasons for the seizure.

The Advantage Sweet had been in the Persian Gulf in late April, but its track showed no unusual behavior as it transited through the Strait of Hormuz, where a fifth of all traded oil passes. Iran has made allegations in other seizures that later fell apart as it became clear Tehran was trying to leverage the capture as a chip to negotiate with foreign nations.

Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Houthis vow to continue attacks until Gaza war ends

The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney is seen in Souda Bay, Greece, in a U.S. Navy file photo.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Bill Dodge/U.S. Navy via AP

The Houthi attack on the Carney on Tuesday involved bomb-carrying drones and one anti-ship ballistic missile, the U.S. military’s Central Command said.

The U.S. later launched an airstrike destroying three anti-ship missiles and three bomb-carrying drone boats in Yemen, CENTCOM said.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, a Houthi military spokesperson, acknowledged the attack, but claimed its forces had targeted two American warships, without elaborating.

The Houthis “will not stop until the aggression is stopped and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted,” Saree said.

Gaza cease-fire discussions stall in Cairo


Saree did not acknowledge the later U.S. airstrikes. The Houthis have not offered any assessment of the damage they’ve suffered in the American-led strikes that began in January, though they have said at least 22 of their fighters have been killed.

Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters over the Israel-Hamas war. Those vessels have included at least one with cargo bound for Iran, the Houthis’ main benefactor, and an aid ship later bound for Houthi-controlled territory.

Despite more than a month and a half of U.S.-led airstrikes, Houthi rebels have remained capable of launching significant attacks. They include the attack last month on a cargo ship carrying fertilizer, the Rubymar, which sank on Saturday after drifting for several days, and the downing of an American drone worth tens of millions of dollars.

Houthis claim to shoot down U.S. drone after weekend of self-defense strikes by U.S.


Ship seizures and explosions have roiled the region since 2019. The incidents began after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Tehran drastically limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The U.S. Navy also has blamed Iran for a series of limpet mine attacks on vessels that damaged tankers in 2019, as well as for a fatal drone attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker that killed two European crew members in 2021. Tehran denies carrying out the attacks.

Red Sea
Houthi Movement

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