Iran Warship Enters Red Sea After U.S. Sinks Attempted Houthi Hijackers: Report
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - 2023/11/02: The national flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a participating country at the 12th St. Petersburg International Gas Forum (SPIGF 2023). (Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Iran moved a warship into the Red Sea after the U.S. military destroyed three boats belonging to the Iran-backed Houthi militant group, according to Iranian state media.

The Houthis have launched dozens of drones and missiles above the Red Sea near the Bab El-Mandeb strait in recent weeks. The militant group, formerly recognized by the U.S. as a terror group before being delisted by President Joe Biden in 2021, has threatened shipping through the region to pressure Israel over its war with Hamas, also backed by Iran.

Iranian state media reported on Monday that the Alborz destroyer had crossed into the Red Sea. No other details were provided, according to Bloomberg.

An incident over the weekend significantly ratcheted up tensions in the Red Sea, causing Maersk, the world’s second-largest shipping company, to suspend shipping through the Red Sea for the second time in a matter of weeks.

A container ship sailing under Maersk was hit by a Houthi missile on Saturday. The ship put out a distress call that was responded to by two U.S. vessels. The U.S. ships then shot down several more rockets fired in the area of the container ship. U.S. officials cleared the Maersk ship to continue its voyage after checking it for damage from the Houthi attack.

The next morning, the container ship put out another distress call after security forces on board traded small arms fire with four Houthi boats that were attempting to hijack the merchant vessel. U.S. helicopters responded to the call and, after taking fire from Houthi militants on board the boats, sunk three of the four boats, killing some of the militants. The fourth escaped.

Houthi representatives met with Iran officials in Tehran after the incident, according to Bloomberg.


The United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian on December 18 to protect shipping in the Red Sea, which handles about 12% of global trade, from Houthi rebels. While the U.S.-led initiative eased some concerns over shipping through the region, the Houthi attacks have not stopped and are again forcing merchants to seek alternative routes. Ships that forgo the Red Sea and Egypt’s Suez Canal typically sail around the horn of Africa instead, a detour that can add up to two weeks to a journey.

The U.S. has accused Iran of supporting the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, though the U.S. has been reluctant to act against Iran directly amid concerns of widening the conflict in the Middle East.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called for U.S. and Israeli action against Iran last month in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.

“There are many ways to weaken Iran: empower domestic opposition, ensure internet continuity during riots against the regime, strengthen its enemies, increase sanctions and economic pressures,” Bennett said.

“Iran’s tyrants are softer than one might expect. They gleefully send others to die for them. But when they’re hit at home, suddenly they become timid,” he continued. “The U.S. and Israel must set the clear goal of bringing down Iran’s evil regime. Not only is this possible. It is vital for the safety and security of the Middle East — and the entire civilized world.”

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