US Destroys Houthi Underwater Drone

( – Yemen’s Houthi rebels continue to launch attacks against merchant shipping and US warships in the Red Sea region — and, for the first time, the Iran-backed terrorist group has used an underwater drone. US Central Command (CENTCOM) responded by launching five airstrikes against drones and land targets. However, Houthi attacks are continuing, with two more ships targeted in the last few days.

On February 17, CENTCOM detected signs of a new Houthi attack on US warships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The rebels were identified as having anti-ship cruise missile launchers, an unmanned boat, and an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) ready to launch.

CENTCOM said this was the first time the Houthis had used a UUV since they started their current anti-shipping campaign on October 23 last year. The statement added that as the weapons were identified as a threat to civilian and US Navy ships, airstrikes were launched on both drones and three cruise missile batteries to “protect freedom of navigation and make international waters more secure.”

The Houthis’ increasing use of surface and now subsurface drones suggests they’re responding to the presence of US and British missile destroyers in the region. The Arleigh Burke-class and Type 45 warships have shot down dozens of missiles and drones since the Houthi attacks began, and the rebels seem to be trying new tactics to counter that.

Missiles are still a threat, though; on February 19 a British-registered cargo ship was abandoned in the Gulf of Aden after taking two missile hits, while a Greek-flagged but US-owned tanker suffered light damage from two near-misses. The Houthis claim they’re trying to halt weapons shipments to Israel in solidarity with the Hamas terrorist group, but in fact, they’re attacking indiscriminately — so far, none of the ships they’ve targeted were headed for Israel. The group’s real aim could be to raise regional tension and deter Western action against its Iranian sponsors.

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