US destroys underwater drone as Houthis prepare to fire it at Red Sea ships

First attempted use of an underwater drone since current tensions began in October

A protester carries a mock drone as Houthi supporters rally to show support to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Reuters
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US forces have conducted five “self-defence” strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

The targets included an underwater drone that the Iran-backed rebels were preparing to launch in the first such attack since current tension began.

The military's Central Command said in a statement on Sunday that the weekend strikes destroyed three anti-ship cruise missiles, one unmanned underwater vessel and one unmanned surface vessel in Iranian-backed Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“This is the first observed Houthi employment of a UUV since attacks began in October 2023,” the statement read.

“Centcom identified the anti-ship cruise missiles, unmanned underwater vessel and the unmanned surface vessel in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.”

The Houthis have been attacking international shipping in the Red Sea with missiles and drones since shortly after the Israel-Hamas war began.

The rebels claim they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians by aiming at ships with connections to Israel.

But the US and Israel say many of the ships attacked have no Israeli ties.

Since January 11, the US and UK have struck Houthi military infrastructure in Yemen and the US has conducted dozens of “self-defence” strikes against missiles being readied for launch.

Updated: February 18, 2024, 6:38 PM