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US military eliminates 3 Houthi terror boats in Red Sea

Washington set to withdraw USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier from Mediterranean region


American naval helicopters sank three of four small boats of Houthi terrorist crew members who attacked the Danish-owned and Singapore-flagged Maersk Hangzhou container ship in the Red Sea on Sunday the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

“The US Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area. There was no damage to US personnel or equipment,” USCENTCOM stated.

U.S. military forces intervened after the Maersk container ship sent distress signals that it had been attacked by “four Iranian-backed Houthi small boats.”

The Houthi boats had reportedly reached within 20 meters (about 65 feet) of the commercial vessel which was also defended by its own security personnel. In addition, an American military vessel neutralized two ballistic missiles that Houthi terrorists fired from Yemen.

Despite being hit by a Houthi missile, the Maersk vessel remained seaworthy, and no crew members were injured in the attack.

CENTCOM announced that this weekend's incident was the “23rd illegal attack by the Houthis on international shipping” since Oct. 19.

The Houthis, a radical Yemeni terror militia backed by Iran, declared war on Israel after the Jewish state responded to the Hamas surprise invasion and massacre of 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7. The Houthis have dramatically increased their attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea in recent months, which they claim is targeting the Jewish state.

In December, the United States announced the establishment of an international task force to deal with the growing Houthi terror threat in the Red Sea region.

During a visit to Bahrain in the middle of December, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized that the Houthis in Yemen constituted an "international challenge that demands collective action,” and introduced a global security initiative.

“Therefore today I am announcing the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian. an important new multinational security initiative,” Austin said.

The international task force includes about 20 nations, such as the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada and Italy. Bahrain, which hosts U.S. military naval assets, is the only Arab state that has so far joined the American-led international task force.

Meanwhile, Washington decided to withdraw its USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier strike group from the region, according to ABC News. Following the Hamas attack on the Jewish state in early October, Washington feared the war would escalate into a regional conflict involving the powerful Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.

At the time, the U.S. Biden administration decided to dispatch two aircraft carriers to the Eastern Mediterranean region to deter the Hezbollah terror organization from opening a full-scale second front against Israel.

Austin personally thanked the USS Gerald Ford crew for their security service during a visit to the aircraft vessel on Dec. 20.

“This carrier and crew are making history. Sometimes our greatest achievements are the bad things that we stop from happening,” Austin stated. “And at a moment of huge tensions in the region, you all have been the lynchpin to preventing a wider regional conflict,” he added.

It is currently unclear whether the USS Gerald Ford will be replaced by an alternative U.S. military presence in the region. Some believe that Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah are watching Washington’s moves carefully and may interpret the U.S. military withdrawal as a sign of weakness that could potentially encourage Tehran and Hezbollah to step up its attacks on the Jewish state.

Read more: HOUTHIS

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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