Houthi Response Unveiled as US Navy Repels Red Sea Threat, Destroys 3 Boats
Image By: ABC News

Houthi Response Unveiled as US Navy Repels Red Sea Threat, Destroys 3 Boats

U.S. Navy helicopters engaged and successfully sank three small boats carrying Houthi militants in the Red Sea on Sunday. The incident unfolded after U.S. warships responded to a distress call from the Maersk container ship Hangzhou, which is flagged in Singapore.

The distress call was made at approximately 6:30 a.m. local time, with the merchant vessel reporting an attack by four small boats.

“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,” Central Command stated.

Helicopters from two U.S. ships, the USS Eisenhower and the USS Gravely, intervened and communicated verbally with the small boats, according to U.S. officials.

According to Central Command, “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.”

Navy helicopter personnel retaliated, sinking three out of four small boats and eliminating the crews, according to U.S. officials. The remaining boat fled the scene.

In a Sunday statement, the Houthis acknowledged a loss of 10 members in the engagement, describing the U.S. actions as “dangerous behavior” with potential “negative repercussions.”

The organization added that it will carry on conducting business in the Red Sea. According to the group, “the American enemy bears the consequences of this crime and its repercussions,” in part.

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

The United States has no intention of escalating the conflict, stated John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, during an appearance on “Good Morning America” on Sunday.

Kirby said to ABC News’ Whit Johnson, “We’re not looking for a conflict with the Houthis, and we don’t seek a conflict wider in the region.” “The best outcome here would be for the Houthis to stop these attacks as we have made clear over and over again.”

On Sunday, the Hangzhou issued a distress call for the second time in 24 hours, as reported by U.S. Navy officials.

The vessel had been in transit on Saturday evening, approximately 55 nautical miles southwest of Al Hudaydah, Yemen, when it encountered an unidentified object, according to a statement from a Maersk spokesperson to ABC News.

Despite the incident, the 14,000-container ship proceeded northward and continued its journey toward Port Suez, Egypt, its intended destination.

According to Maersk spokeswoman Adhish Alawan, “Maersk can also confirm that after the initial attack on the vessel, four boats approached the vessel and engaged fire in an expected attempt to board the vessel.” 

Maersk has postponed all transits in the region for the next 48 hours as the incident undergoes investigation, stated the spokesperson.

Kirby highlighted the significance of the Red Sea shipping corridor, emphasizing the crucial necessity to ensure its safety and openness for international commerce.

When questioned about the possibility of a pre-emptive strike, Kirby mentioned that “we’re not ruling anything in or out.”

“We have made it clear publicly to the Houthis and privately to our allies and partners, and we’re going to make the right decisions going forward,” he added.

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With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.