U.S. forces, allies shoot down more than 2 dozen Houthi drones in Red Sea

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The U.S. military and its allies shot down a flurry of at least 28 drones in the Red Sea fired by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen early Saturday, the Pentagon said.

The drones were fired over an approximately four-hour period from about 4 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. local time, U.S. Central Command reported on social media.

There were no reports of commercial or naval vessels damaged in the assault, CENTCOM said.

U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps posted video to social media early Saturday showing what he said was the British warship HMS Richmond using missiles to shoot down two Houthi drones.

“The UK and our allies will continue to take the action necessary to save lives and protect freedom of navigation,” Shapps wrote.

Houthi militants, who occupy vast swaths of Yemen, have since November launched dozens of attacks on ships in the Red Sea in a show of solidarity with the militant group Hamas in its war with Israel. The attacks have significantly disrupted international shipping routes.

A Houthi attack Wednesday killed at least three members of the crew on the Liberian-owned commercial ship True Confidence, according to defense officials, marking the first fatalities from one of the Houthi attacks since they started in November.

And last weekend, a British owned-ship which had been struck by a Houthi missile in February sank in the Red Sea, making it the first vessel to be destroyed by the Houthis since they began their attacks. The ship’s sinking was also believed to have severed three undersea telecommunication cables.

In response, the U.S. and U.K., with the support of coalition forces, have launched four rounds of airstrikes on Houthi military targets in Yemen dating back to mid-January.

The Biden administration earlier this year declared the Houthis to be a “specially designated global terrorist group,” reversing part of an earlier decision by the U.S. State Department in February 2021 that removed that designation.

Eleanor Watson contributed to this report. 

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