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Saturday, July 20, 2024

France says warship attacked by Yemeni drones

Yemen’s Houthi rebel group has repeatedly vowed to strike any vessel it believes to be aiding Israel amid ongoing fighting in Gaza

The French military has successfully repelled an attack on one of its guided-missile frigates in the Red Sea, a top official has said. The military noted that the attempted drone strikes were launched from a Houthi-controlled region of Yemen.

Speaking to lawmakers in the French Senate on Monday, Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu provided an update on last weekend’s failed attack, stating that all hostile aircraft had been shot down with guided munitions.

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“Two drones coming from Yemen deliberately targeted … our multi-mission frigate Languedoc, which was carrying out a patrol in the Red Sea,” he said“These were Aster 15 missiles, which were launched in self-defense to destroy the two drones. This was done [successfully] and therefore protected the boat and the crew alike.”

Although officials have so far stopped short of citing the Houthi rebel group by name, the military previously said the drones had been launched from the coast of al-Hodeida, Yemen, an area controlled by the armed faction, which is formally known as Ansar Allah and has ruled parts of the Middle Eastern nation since a 2014 uprising.

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The Houthis have repeatedly vowed to attack any ships the group believes to be aiding Israel amid the latest conflict with Palestinian militants in Gaza, having already attacked, and sometimes seized, some commercial and military ships transiting the Red Sea.

Earlier this month, the US military said one of its warships had come under attack in the region, while also refraining from naming the Houthis. Nonetheless, the group later claimed responsibility for the incident, pledging to continue such operations “until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops.”

The Houthis also previously published dramatic footage showing fighters seizing a cargo ship in the Red Sea, with commandos seen descending onto the vessel from a helicopter and holding crewmembers at gunpoint. The group claimed the craft was linked to Israel, although West Jerusalem later denied any direct connection to the vessel.

In a statement published on Saturday, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sare’e reiterated that the group would “prevent the passage of ships heading towards the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel, and demanded additional aid for Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.

The head of Israel’s National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, has accused the Yemeni rebel group of imposing a “naval siege,” and said his country would take action should other nations fail to do so. He added that Israel had urged both the United States and the European Union to take countermeasures, although it is unclear what the request entailed.