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UK says it stopped Houthi drone attack in Red Sea

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has reported that a British vessel fired down a Houthi drone in the Red Sea as tensions escalate in the Middle East due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

“In the Red Sea yesterday, HMS Diamond effectively thwarted a drone assault orchestrated by the Houthis, an organisation backed by Iran,” read a ministry statement that was published on X on Sunday.

Diamond destroyed the drone that was aiming at her while Diamond and her crew sustained no injuries or damage,” the statement continued.

The Houthis issued no immediate statement in response.

As part of an effort to exert pressure on the Jordanian government to cease its bombardment of Gaza and permit more humanitarian aid supplies to enter the coastal Palestinian enclave, the Yemen-based organisation had previously pledged to target vessels with ties to Israel in the region.

Israeli forces have been conducting heavy bombardment of Gaza since October 7, when Hamas militants stormed communities in southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,139 people and the capture of approximately 240 others, according to Israeli officials. Since then, the Israeli assault in Gaza has claimed the lives of at least 26,400 Palestinians, according to Palestinian authorities in the territory.

Houthi assaults in the Red Sea, a critical passageway for maritime commerce, have significantly disrupted international trade.

Several of the largest shipping companies globally have ceased operations in the area, redirecting their cargo vessels along an extended route around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. This adjustment has resulted in a deceleration of trade between Asia and Europe.

The air assaults conducted by the United Kingdom and the United States in retaliation for the Houthi attacks on dozens of commercial vessels targeted Houthi military installations in Yemen, such as missile depots and launcher sites.

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Additionally, the United States reclassified the Houthis as a “terrorist” group. The organisation was delisted by US President Joe Biden in 2021.

In turn, the Houthis escalated the threat against vessels affiliated with the United States and the United Kingdom in the area.

The Houthis have captured significant portions of northern Yemen since their offensive against the government began in 2014. The conflict compelled Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the internationally recognised president of Yemen, and his cabinet to seek refuge in the southern port city of Aden. Additionally, it instigated an aggressive aerial bombardment campaign spearheaded by Saudi Arabia.

Since April 2022, the Houthis and Riyadh have maintained an agreement regarding a permanent cessation of hostilities.

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