The United States claims to have successfully intercepted and destroyed four unmanned aerial vehicles in the southern Red Sea region, which were launched from areas in Yemen under Houthi control.

The Pentagon has openly accused Iran of directly targeting ships for the first time since the start of the Gaza war, resulting in a drone attack.

According to US Central Command (Centcom), four drones were shot down by the United States as they approached a US destroyer in the southern Red Sea. The drones were launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The Iran-aligned Houthis, who control a significant portion of Yemen, have been disrupting global trade by attacking ships passing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait. They claim that these actions are in response to Israel’s war in Gaza.

Centcom stated that it responded to distress calls from two ships under attack. A chemical/oil tanker owned and operated by a Norwegian company reported a near miss, while a crude oil tanker owned by a Gabonese company and flying an Indian flag reported being hit.

In addition to the drone attack, two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles were fired into international shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea. However, no ships were impacted by the missiles.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations agency reported an explosion from an uncrewed aerial system near a vessel in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, southwest of Saleef, Yemen.

The Pentagon stated that a Japanese-owned chemical tanker off the coast of India was targeted by a drone fired from Iran. The attack occurred without causing casualties, and a fire on the vessel was extinguished. The US military is in communication with the ship as it continues its journey to India.

According to Agence France-Presse, this is the first time the Pentagon has publicly accused Iran of directly targeting ships since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas.

Multiple sources have provided additional details regarding the targeted vessels. The MV Chem Pluto ship, which flew under a Liberian flag, was operated by a Dutch entity and owned by a Japanese company. Ambrey, a maritime security firm, stated that the ship was Israel-affiliated and was traveling from Saudi Arabia to India.

The Indian navy responded to the incident by dispatching an aircraft to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the strike. The Red Sea attacks have caused major shipping companies to reroute their cargo vessels around the southern tip of Africa.

The Pentagon has reported that the Houthi rebels have launched over 100 drone and missile attacks on merchant vessels involving more than 35 different countries since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

In response to the ongoing war, an official from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned of the potential forced closure of other waterways if Israel does not cease its actions. Operation Prosperity Guardian was recently launched by the United States, involving joint patrols in Red Sea waters near Yemen with the participation of more than a dozen countries.

Source: Reuters and Agence France-Presse

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