U.S. and British naval forces shot down 21 drones and missiles fired by Yemen-based Houthis on Tuesday towards the southern Red Sea, the United States said, with Britain hinting at further measures to protect international shipping lanes.
British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said it was the largest attack in the area by the militants to date as the three-month-long war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza spills over into other parts of the Middle East.
“This is an unsustainable situation,” Shapps told reporters, adding “watch this space” with regards to further possible action by Britain and its international partners.
“This cannot continue and cannot be allowed to continue.”
U.S. Central Command said no injuries nor damage were reported, adding that this was the 26th Houthi attack on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea since Nov. 19.
Later in the day, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said the Iranian-backed militants fired a large number of ballistic and naval missiles and drones at a U.S. ship that was “providing support” to Israel.
In a televised speech, Saree did not say when the Houthi strike had occurred or what damage, if any, the vessel had suffered, but that the operation was a “preliminary response” to a previous U.S. attack that killed 10 Houthi fighters.
The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is based in the Gulf region and has along with Britain deployed naval forces to protect Red Sea shipping from an upsurge in Houthi attacks, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.