US Military Destroys Houthi Patrol Boats and Drone Over Red Sea

US Central Command announced that it will "continue to work with partners to hold the Houthis accountable and to reduce their military capability"

by Sededin Dedovic
US Military Destroys Houthi Patrol Boats and Drone Over Red Sea
© Handout / Getty Images

The American military announced that it destroyed two patrol boats belonging to the Yemeni rebel group Houthis, an unmanned boat, and a drone over the Red Sea. A spokesperson for the Houthis, who control Yemen's most populous areas, stated earlier on Thursday that the Houthis targeted Verbenah in the Arabian Sea and Sigardian in the Red Sea.

The US Central Command reported that in the attack on the ship Verbenakargo flying the flag of Palau, one crew member was seriously injured and a fire broke out. The Houthis have been attacking ships in Yemeni waters since November in solidarity with Palestinians in conflict with Israeli forces in Gaza, according to Reuters.

The US Central Command stated it will "continue to operate with partners to call out the Houthis’ malign activities and to reduce their ability to carry out attacks." Houthi operations have disrupted global shipping, forcing companies to reroute to longer and more expensive routes around South Africa.

Who are the Houthis?

Houthi rebels left their stronghold in northern Yemen and seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, starting a fierce war. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015 to try to restore Yemen's internationally recognized government, which had been ousted.

Years of bloody fighting — essentially a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran — have led to a stalemate on the battlefield, causing widespread hunger and misery in Yemen, the poorest Arab nation. The war has killed over 150,000 people, including fighters and civilians, and triggered one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world, with tens of thousands more dying.

A ceasefire that technically ended over a year ago is mostly holding. Saudi Arabia and the rebels have carried out some prisoner swaps, and a Houthi delegation was invited to high-level peace talks in Riyadh in September as part of broader efforts to ease tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

While participants spoke of "positive outcomes," a lasting peace remains elusive. Houthi military spokesperson General Yahya Sari stated the group aims to "prevent Israeli ships from sailing the Red Sea (and the Gulf of Aden) until Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in Gaza stops."