US and UK Naval Forces Successfully Repel Largest Houthi Attack on Red Sea Shipping

January 10, 2024 - Reading time: 3 minutes

The UK's Ministry of Defence shared images of the HMS Diamond deploying Sea Viper missiles and guns.

UK and US naval forces have repelled the largest attack yet by Yemen's Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea, according to the UK defence secretary. The Iran-backed group launched 18 drones and three missiles on Tuesday night, as reported by the US military.

They were shot down by carrier-based jets and four warships, it added. No injuries or damage were reported.

The Houthis have not commented, but they have targeted merchant vessels in response to the war in the Gaza Strip. They have claimed - often falsely - that the ships were linked to Israel.

What do Red Sea assaults mean for global trade?

The US military said Tuesday's attack was the 26th since 19 November. The US, UK and 10 other countries - including Germany, Italy, Australia and Japan - have warned the Houthis to immediately end the attacks, which they say are illegal and pose a "direct threat to freedom of navigation" in the critical waterway, through which almost 15% of global trade passes.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps warns Houthi rebels

The allies have resisted striking targets in rebel-held north-west Yemen itself in retaliation, but UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps warned on Wednesday that if attacks continued "the Houthis will bear the consequences". "We will take the action needed to protect innocent lives and the global economy," he added.

The US and UK's Successful Repelling of the Largest Attack by Yemen's Houthi Rebels Shows Strength in Naval Forces

The successful repulsion of 18 drones and three missiles launched by Iran-backed group, the Houthis, on Tuesday night is a clear demonstration of the strength and efficiency of US and UK naval forces. This attack was not only the largest ever made by Houthi rebels against shipping in the Red Sea but also marked the 26th such attack since November 19.

The Impact on Global Trade

The potential threat to global trade posed by these attacks has been highlighted by the US, UK and other allied countries. The Red Sea is a critical waterway through which almost 15% of global trade passes, making it an essential route for international commerce. The continuous efforts made by Houthi rebels to disrupt this crucial passage have raised concerns among nations worldwide.

The Need for International Cooperation

In light of these events, it is evident that international cooperation is vital in addressing the growing threat posed by Houthi rebels. The involvement of 10 other countries - including Germany, Italy, Australia and Japan - highlights a united front against this menace to global trade and peace.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.