Maritime traffic near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the Red Sea has faced aggressive acts with 23 attacks initiated by Houthi rebels. This escalating tension has provoked a response from the US Navy, resulting in the sinking of three boats that were threatening the Maersk Hangzhou container ship. Here's more on the situation.
US Navy’s Response
Details shared by US Centcom indicate that helicopters from the USS Gravely and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower reacted in self-defense after they were targeted by rebel vessels. The US, to fortify maritime traffic in the Red Sea, initiated a naval coalition with a minimum of nine other countries, including the United Kingdom.
Operations in the Region
Activities in the region have focused on intercepting anti-ship missiles and drones which were launched from Houthi-held territories in Yemen. Yet, it appears that the US and UK are evaluating launching air strikes against the Houthis. They are also readying a joint proclamation to give a final warning to the Yemeni rebels.
Grant Shapps, the UK's Defense Minister, expressed readiness to adopt direct actions and extra measures to deter violations against the freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. Notably, Shapps cautioned that continued aggression could lead to inaccurate assumptions, escalation, and the potential to ignite a regional conflict.
Prospects of Air Strikes
Adding to Shapps' statement, two high-ranking Pentagon officials suggested that the possibility of air strikes in the imminent future hasn't been dismissed. They added that if the US resolves to take action against the Houthis, the when and where would be depending on their choosing.