Houthis counters after US Navy sinks 3 boats striking merchant ship in Red Sea


After responding to a distress call from a merchant vessel, US Navy helicopters returned fire and sank three small boats carrying Houthi militants in the Red Sea on Sunday, military authorities claimed.

The Singapore-flagged Maersk container ship Hangzhou issued a distress call at 6:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement issued by US Central Command on Sunday. The merchant ship reported that four tiny boats were attacking it.

“The small boats, originating 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 vessel,” the U.S. Central Command stated.

According to US sources, helicopters from two US ships, the USS Eisenhower and the USS Gravely, responded and delivered voice calls to the small boats.

While the helicopters were “in the process of issuing verbal calls to the small boats,” the small boats “fired upon the U.S. helicopters with crew-served weapons and small arms,” according to Central Command.

Houthis counters after US Navy sinks 3 boats striking merchant ship in Red Sea

According to US sources, service personnel aboard the Navy helicopters returned fire and sank three of the four small boats, killing the crews. The fourth boat sailed away from the area.

The Houthis said in a statement Sunday that they lost 10 group members after US forces fired on their vessels, calling the engagement “dangerous behavior” with “negative repercussions.”

The organization also stated that it will continue to operate in the Red Sea. “The American enemy bears the consequences of this crime and its repercussions,” according to the group.

The group also stated that it will “not hesitate to confront any aggression” against Yemen and underlined its “advice to all countries not to be drawn into American plans aimed at igniting the conflict in the Red Sea.”

The United States does not intend to escalate the dispute, according to National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, who appeared on “Good Morning America” on Sunday.

“We’re not looking for a regional conflict, and we’re not looking for a conflict with the Houthis,” Kirby told ABC News’ Whit Johnson. “The best outcome here would be for the Houthis to stop these attacks as we have made clear over and over again.”

According to US Navy sources, the Hangzhou issued a distress call for the second time in 24 hours on Sunday.

The ship was going about 55 nautical miles southwest of Al Hudaydah, Yemen, on Saturday evening when it was hit by an unknown object, according to a Maersk representative.

Following that, the 14,000-container tanker headed north, bound for Port Suez, Egypt.

Maersk can also confirm that four boats approached the vessel after the initial attack and engaged in a fire in an expected attempt to board the vessel,” said Adhish Alawani, a Maersk representative.

According to him, Maersk has delayed all transits through the area for the next 48 hours while the event is investigated.

Kirby stressed the significance of the Red Sea maritime corridor and the crucial imperative of keeping it safe and open for international trade.

When asked if a pre-emptive strike is an option, Kirby answered, “We’re not ruling anything in or out.”

“We have made it clear publicly to the Houthis and privately to our allies and partners, and we’re going to make the right decisions going forward,” he said in a statement.

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