The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported Sunday morning that four Iran-backed Houthi rebel boats had attacked the Maersk Hangzhou container ship in the Red Sea, firing small arms and crew-served weapons at a distance of 20 meters from the vessel and attempting to board it.
A contract-embarked security team aboard the container ship returned fire in self-defense.
This prompted a distress call to be sent out for aid from the U.S Navy, which responded by dispatching helicopters to sink three of the boats and eliminate their crews.
This incident followed two ballistic missiles being fired “toward” two US warships in the Red Sea earlier that day while they were aiding the Maersk Hangzhou after it had previously been struck by a missile launched by Houthis in Yemen; USS Gravely successfully shot down these missiles.
Iranian-backed Houthi small boats attack merchant vessel and U.S. Navy helicopters in Southern Red Sea
On Dec. 31 at 6:30am (Sanaa time) the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting being under attack by four Iranian-backed… pic.twitter.com/pj8NAzjbVF
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 31, 2023
The U.S. Navy issued warnings to Houthis, who responded by firing weapons at the helicopters.
This proved to be a mistake on their part as the U.S. Navy retaliated by promoting three of the four boats to submarines and killing all 10 terrorists aboard them; the fourth boat was able to escape.
CENTCOM command reported no harm done to any personnel or equipment belonging to the U.S..
According to Barak Ravid of Axios, this is the most significant engagement between U.S. forces and Iranian-backed Houthis since they started attacking ships in the Red Sea after the Gaza war began, leading Maersk Hangzhou vessel taking precautionary measures by halting sailing on the Red Sea for 48 hours, per Reuters news agency’s reportage.
In spite of these acts of terror perpetrated by Houthi militants, Biden administration has yet to launch an attack against any Houthi base in over three months; a passiveness that has only emboldened our adversaries and put our allies at risk.