Skip to main content

Yemen's Houthis step up attacks in Red Sea, as UK and US shoot down missiles

British naval vessel was involved in shooting down drones and missiles fired by the Yemeni group, which is targeting ships heading to Israel
A photo released by the UK Ministry of Defence taken from the bridge of the HMS Diamond as missiles were launched in the Red Sea (Royal Navy)

The British government has warned Yemen's Houthi movement that "enough is enough" after the British Navy was involved in shooting down a number of the group's drones and missiles targeting ships in the Red Sea.

According to US Central Command (Centcom), the Houthis last night launched drones and missiles into Red Sea shipping lanes against a US vessel. US Navy carrier jets and destroyers, alongside the Royal Navy's HMS Diamond, intercepted 18 drones and three missiles fired by the Yemeni group, Centcom said.

For months now, the Houthis have been disrupting the busy trade route over Israel's bombing campaign and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps warned against the group making any further moves in the region, adding that he believed Iran was supporting their actions.

"Enough is enough," Shapps said on Wednesday. "We must be clear with the Houthis that this has to stop and that is my simple message to them today: Watch this space."

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Earlier on Wednesday, the Houthis said they had targeted a US ship as a "primary response" to a previous American attack that killed 10 members of the group. Military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a brief statement that a US ship "supporting Israel" was targeted with ballistic missiles and drones.

The US said earlier that it came under attack in the Red Sea but no injuries or damage were reported.

The Houthis, who have been backed by Iran since going to war with Saudi Arabia in 2015, have launched more than 20 attacks since 19 November aimed at undermining shipping traffic in solidarity with the Palestinians.

'Deception and fabrications'

Israeli bombardment of Gaza has continued apace even as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli army on Wednesday afternoon targeted a residential building only a few metres away from Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital, killing and wounding at least 40 people, according to Palestinian officials. 

The Palestinian government's media office said the area had been deemed "safe" by the Israeli army.

War on Gaza: Israel cages Palestinian towns in West Bank with iron gates
Read More »

“This is a continuation of the deception and fabrications by the Israeli occupation army to mislead public opinion,” the media office said.

The health ministry said Israeli forces had killed at least 147 Palestinians and wounded 243 more across the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours.

According to Reuters, Egypt and Qatar have both separately been trying to mediate between Israel and Hamas to negotiate a new ceasefire and the release of Israeli captives, scores of whom are still held by Hamas.

The resumption in negotiations comes after an Israeli delegation visited Egypt on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a long-term ceasefire in return for freeing captives held in Gaza, two Egyptian security sources said.

In a separate meeting on Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Blinken of the need "to stop the Israeli aggression against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank".

For his part, Blinken told Abbas that Washington supported "tangible steps" towards the creation of a Palestinian state, despite the staunch opposition of the Israeli government.

A small protest took place in Ramallah's Al-Manara Square to denounce US support for Israel and reject Blinken's visit. 

Journalists killed

International bodies and media monitors have become increasingly concerned at the unprecedented number of journalists killed in Gaza since the beginning of the conflict.

On Tuesday, an Israeli army attack killed journalist Heba al-Abdallah and her entire family.

According to local media, Abdallah was in her home with her family in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip when an Israeli aircraft bombed their home, killing everyone inside.

Why Palestinian journalists aren't valued by their western colleagues
Read More »

On Wednesday, another journalist, identified as Ahmed Badir, was killed in an Israeli bombing that targeted a house adjacent to the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Hospital in Deir al-Balah, according to Gaza’s government media office. 

The office said Badir worked for the al-Hadaf media network.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says that at least 113 journalists have been killed since 7 October, making it one of the most deadly conflicts ever for the media.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Monday that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was set to investigate the killing of journalists in Gaza as part of the upcoming court case against Israel.

Amid mounting calls for a comprehensive ceasefire, South Africa has invoked the Genocide Convention and lodged a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague. 

The application, filed last month, delineates the atrocities perpetrated by Israel in Gaza in the wake of the 7 October operation by Hamas, which left 1140 people dead.

"Following the two last complaints filed by [RSF] with the [ICC] regarding journalists killed in Gaza, the office of Prosecutor Karim Khan QC assures our organisation that crimes against journalists are given special attention in his investigation into Palestine," said RSF in a tweet, adding: "Our efforts paid off."

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.