He Iranian warship Alborz entered the Red Sea through the strategic Bab al Mandeb Strait, according to the news agency reported this Monday Tasnimat a time of intense tensions in this important waterway.
“The destroyer Alborz entered the Red Sea (…) passing through Bab al Mandeb”which separates the Horn of Africa from the Arabian Peninsula, indicated Tasnimwithout specifying the reasons for the deployment.
He added that Iran’s naval fleet was operating in the area “to secure sea routes, repel the piratesamong other purposes since 2009″.
In early December, the United States created a multinational naval task force for the Red Sea after a series of missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, allies of the Iranian regime, against merchant ships that forced companies shipping companies to suspend navigation in the area.
The Houthis claim the attacks were in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Israel is fighting the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas following the October 7 attacks on Israeli soil.
The rebels began launching barrages of missiles and drones against southern Israel two months ago and also against ships flying the flag of the Jewish State or owned by Israeli companies in the Red Sea and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb.
According to the International Chamber of Shipping, 12% of world trade passes through the Red Sea.
On Monday, the British Defense Secretary, Grant Shappssaid his country was “willing to take direct action” against the Houthis “to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.”
The United States accused Iran of being “deeply involved” in the Houthi attacks. The Islamic Republic, however, denies the allegations and claims that the Houthi rebels were acting on their own.
In a statement, the military spokesman for the Yemen rebels, Yahya Sareaannounced that at least ten members of its ranks died this Sunday in the exchange of fire with Washington forces and also claimed responsibility for the action against the Maersk Hanzghou, flagged by Singapore, which was attacked near the port of Al Hodeida, one of the most important in Yemen.
The Maersk Hanzghou warned of two attacks in the Red Sea in less than 24 hours, which were attended by the naval coalition led by the United States and of which the United Kingdom is also a part.
The first happened last night when the United States Naval Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that had shot down two anti-ship missiles that were aimed at the container ship and that were launched from territory controlled by the insurgents.
But the trigger was in the early hours of this morning when four small boats approached the merchant ship to board it.
CENTCOM explained today in a lengthy statement that “at 6:30 a.m. local time (3:30 GMT), the container ship Maersk Hangzhou issued a second distress call in less than 24 hours reporting that it was under attack by four small Houthi vessels backed by Iran.” .
The United States Naval Forces indicated that after that exchange of fire, “American helicopters responded to the distress call and in the process of issuing verbal calls to the small boats, “They fired at the American helicopters with crew weapons and light weapons.”
The American helicopters “returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats and killing their crews. The fourth boat fled the area. “No personal or material damage was caused,” CENTCOM concluded in the statement.
After having suspended transit through that area, the Danish shipping company Maersk decided a few days ago to resume its passage through the Red Sea when the United States announced the creation of the new naval coalition to defend international maritime security.
(With information from AFP and EFE)