U.S. Forces Sink Houthi Boats In Red Sea, Pentagon Says
In this handout released by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) is seen August 2, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean.
(Photo by U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

U.S. Navy helicopters destroyed three Iranian-backed Houthi small boats that had been attacking a merchant ship in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the Pentagon.

At 6:30 a.m. local time, the Maersk Hangzhou, identified as a Singapore-flagged and Denmark-owned and operated container vessel, issued its second distress call in less than 24 hours — this time regarding four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a post to X.

The boats, which CENTCOM said were small and originated 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 merchant ship while contract-embarked security team on the Maersk Hangzhou returned fire.

U.S. helicopters from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and USS Gravely guided missile destroyer responded to the distress call, according to CENTCOM, and in the process of issuing verbal calls to the Houthi boats, the aggressors fired upon the U.S. aircraft with crew-served weapons and small arms.

The U.S. Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats and killing the crews, said CENTCOM, which also noted that the fourth boat fled the area and emphasized there was no damage to U.S. personnel or equipment.


In an earlier post to X, CENTCOM said the Maersk Hangzhou reported being struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea and requested assistance in what was described as “the 23rd illegal attack by the Houthis on international shipping since Nov. 19.”

The USS Gravely and USS Laboon guided-missile destroyer responded to the ship, which did not report any injuries and appeared to remain seaworthy, and the Gravely shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships, CENTCOM said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced in mid-December the start of the multi-national Operation Prosperity Guardian meant to protect ships in the Red Sea. His statement cited an “escalation” in Houthi attacks coming from Yemen in recent weeks.

The Iran-backed group has reportedly warned ships not to head toward Israel in what it claims is a show of solidarity with the Palestinians as Israel fights Hamas in the Gaza Strip following a deadly Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli soil in early October.

Less than two weeks after the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the top commander of U.S. naval forces in the Middle East, told the Associated Press, “We are cleareyed that the Houthi reckless attacks will likely continue.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  U.S. Forces Sink Houthi Boats In Red Sea, Pentagon Says