In one of their most complex attacks to date, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels targeted international shipping lanes in the southern Red Sea on Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
On Jan. 9, at approximately 9:15 p.m. local time, the Iranian-backed Houthis launched one-way attack UAVs (OWA UAVs), anti-ship cruise missiles, and an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen towards international shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea. It took place as dozens of merchant vessels were transiting.
This is the largest drone and missile attack from the Houthi’s since they began attacking commercial shipping in November, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News.
It is also the 26th Houthi attack on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea since Nov. 19.
In a statement posted to X, U.S. Central Command said the United States military presence in the Red Sea was able to prevent any injuries or damage.
A combined effort of F/A-18s from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mason (DDG 87), and the United Kingdom’s HMS Diamond (D34) shot down 18 OWA UAVs, two anti-ship cruise missiles, and the anti-ship ballistic missile.
It comes after 14 countries, including the U.S., issued a joint statement on Jan. 3 saying, “The Houthis will bear the responsibility for the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, or the free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways.”
The U.S. was joined by the U.K., Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore and New Zealand in Wednesday’s statement. The nations said that the destabilization of trade throughout the Red Sea is “unacceptable” and vowed consequences.
“Ongoing Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are illegal, unacceptable, and profoundly destabilizing. There is no lawful justification for intentionally targeting civilian shipping and naval vessels. Attacks on vessels, including commercial vessels, using unmanned aerial vehicles, small boats, and missiles, including the first use of anti-ship ballistic missiles against such vessels, are a direct threat to the freedom of navigation that serves as the bedrock of global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” the nations wrote.
“Let our message now be clear: we call for the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews. The Houthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways. We remain committed to the international rules-based order and are determined to hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks,” the statement continued.
The second-largest Houthi attack took place in November, when the USS Carney shot down 15 drones and four cruise missiles.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.