A British warship and US forces have destroyed “multiple drones” launched by Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in the Red Sea, the British defence secretary has said.
Grant Shapps said it had been the largest attack in the region by the militants to date, with drones heading towards HMS Diamond, a Type 45 destroyer that was deployed by the UK to help protect shipping, as well as commercial vessels.
Sources told Sky News seven Houthi drones were shot down by HMS Diamond.
In a statement on X, Mr Shapps said: “Overnight, HMS Diamond, along with US warships, successfully repelled the largest attack from the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date.
“Deploying Sea Viper missiles and guns, Diamond destroyed multiple attack drones heading for her and commercial shipping in the area, with no injuries or damage sustained to Diamond or her crew.
“The UK alongside allies have previously made clear that these illegal attacks are completely unacceptable and if continued the Houthis will bear the consequences.
“We will take the action needed to protect innocent lives and the global economy.”
A US-led coalition of nations has been patrolling the Red Sea to try and prevent the attacks.
‘Complex attack’ included drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missile
The United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO), which monitors shipping attacks in the region, said it was aware of an attack off the Yemeni port of Hodeida on Tuesday.
Private intelligence firm Ambrey said ships described over the radio seeing missiles and drones, with US-allied warships in the area urging “vessels to proceed at maximum speed”.
The US military’s Central Command said the “complex attack” included bomb-carrying drones, cruise missiles and one anti-ship ballistic missile.
It said 18 drones, two cruise missiles and the anti-ship missile were downed by F-18s from the USS Dwight D Eisenhower as well as by other American ships and one British warship.
“This is the 26th Houthi attack on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea since November 19,” Central Command said. “There were no injuries or damage reported.”
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