Iran Dispatches Warship To Red Sea, Houthis Warn Of "Repercussions" After US Forces Kill Rebels During Maersk Ship Attack

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jan 01, 2024 - 08:45 PM

Regional instability risks mount in the Red Sea following the Iran-backed Houthi attack on a Maersk container ship on Sunday. US Forces responded with attack helicopters that eliminated three small boats and ten rebels.

After the skirmish, a spokesperson for the Yemeni militia group warned of "consequences and repercussions" for the US aggression. 

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea confirmed on the Yemeni TV channel Al-Masirah that US forces killed ten of its fighters. 

"US enemy forces attacked three boats belonging to the Yemeni Naval Forces, which led to the martyrdom and the loss of ten people from the Naval Forces," Sarea said.

The spokesman said its fighters were "performing their humanitarian and moral duty" to deter Israel-related commercial vessels from transiting the Red Sea "in solidarity and support for the Palestinian people."

He said the US "bears the consequences" for attacking and killing ten of its fighters, adding that the "military movements in the Red Sea to protect Israeli ships will not prevent Yemen (Houthi militia) from performing its humanitarian duty in support of Palestine and Gaza."

Perhaps even more problematically from a global escalation perspective, Iran dispatched a warship to the Red Sea.

The Alborz destroyer traversed the Bab El-Mandeb strait, a narrow choke point between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, on Monday, Iranian state media said, adding that Iran’s naval fleet has been operating in the area “to secure shipping lanes, repel pirates, among other purposes since 2009.”

The move appears to represent a clear challenge to the US-led maritime security force established last month to protect ships from attack in the region.

Earlier in the day, US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported it received a distress call from a Singapore-flagged Maersk container ship named "Hangzhou." 

CENTCOM wrote on X that a missile hit Hangzhou in the Red Sea. 

CENTCOM said attack helicopters from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Gravely were quickly deployed and eliminated three small boats and Houthi militants.

What's clear is that tensions across the Bab al-Mandab Strait are only worsening despite the Pentagon's Operation Prosperity Guardian mission to shield commercial vessels from attacks in the Red Sea.