Alberto Pizzoli Agence France-Presse Un bateau lance-missiles de la marine israélienne patrouille en mer Rouge au large de la ville portuaire d’Eliat, dans le sud d’Israël, le 26 décembre 2023.
Ten Yemeni Houthi rebels were killed in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to Yemeni port sources, after the US military claimed to have sunk three of their ships in response to attacks on a Danish carrier's container ship.
“Ten Houthis were killed and two were injured in the US strike on Houthi boats trying to intercept a ship at sea off Hodeida,” one of the two port sources said.
The injured were rescued and transported to hospital and four other people survived, according to port sources who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
The US military earlier claimed to have sunk three Houthi rebel ships after attacks on a container ship from the Danish carrier Maersk in the Red Sea.
Targeted by Houthi fire, American helicopters “retaliated in self-defense, sinking three of the four small ships and killing the crews,” indicated the American Military Command in the Middle East [Centcom ] in a press release, specifying that the fourth boat had “fled the area”.
The US Navy, Centcom said, was responding to a request for assistance from Maersk Hangzhou, a Singapore-flagged container ship, from the Danish carrier Maersk, victim of the “23rd attack attempt carried out by the Houthis against international ships since October 19.”
According to Centcom, the boat had reported being hit by a missile. As two US ships responded to his request for assistance, he was again targeted by two ballistic missiles launched from Houthi-controlled Yemeni territory, which the US military had shot down.
The ship was not damaged, according to Maersk.
Since the start on October 7 of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on Israeli territory, the Yemeni rebels have increased attacks in the Red Sea against ships they consider “linked to Israel”, in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Maersk suspends transit for 48 hours
It is the first deadly strike against the Houthis since the United States announced the establishment earlier this month of a multinational naval force to protect shipping in the Red Sea, through which 12 transit % of world trade, following repeated attacks by the Houthis.
The Danish shipping giant Maersk, in the wake of the attack, announced that it would suspend the transit of its fleet in the Red Sea for 48 hours.
Its ships had just returned to the area, as had those of the French shipowner CMA-CGM, after the deployment of the multinational naval force.
Along with other companies, these shipping giants had previously suspended the passage of their ships through the area in mid-December.
CMA-CGM, for its part, indicated to AFP that it was not considering temporarily avoiding the area again.
The US Navy on Thursday shot down in the Red Sea a drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by the Houthi rebels, close to Iran and who control a large part of Yemen.
The United States also announced on Thursday a series of sanctions targeting the Houthis' financing channels, targeting several people and entities in Yemen and Turkey that it considers involved in this financing.< /p>
Washington accuses Tehran of helping Yemeni rebels carry out these attacks, but the Islamic Republic has always denied providing them with military equipment.