The Red Sea off the coast of Yemen was the site of reported explosions after sightings of unmanned aircraft and missiles, according to a British maritime authority. Two separate incidents were reported, with two unmanned aircraft observed before explosions occurred five nautical miles from a vessel located 50 nautical miles west of Hodeidah. In a separate incident, explosions were heard and missiles were seen 4 nautical miles from a vessel 60 nautical miles from Hodeidah. The vessel and crew were reported to be safe in both incidents. It was not disclosed if the incidents involved the same vessel, and cargo details or the vessel’s destination were not revealed.
No claim of responsibility has been made, and the origin of the reported drones or missiles was not identified. These incidents come after the United States announced a multinational maritime security initiative in response to attacks on vessels by Yemen’s Houthis. The Iran-backed Houthi militia has been targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea, with a campaign that they claim is in solidarity with Palestinians besieged by Israel in Gaza. The group has warned shipping companies against dealing with Israeli ports, leading to several shipping lines suspending operations through the Red Sea waterway, instead opting for the longer journey around Africa. The Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks until Israel halts the conflict in Gaza and have also threatened to target US warships if they are targeted themselves. The Houthis control significant territory in Yemen and have been firing drones and missiles towards southern Israel.