US Military Destroys Houthi Patrol Boats After Attack on Palauan-Flagged Cargo Ship

CENTCOM said that ‘a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated’ cargo carrier was hit by Houthi missiles in the Gulf of Aden.
US Military Destroys Houthi Patrol Boats After Attack on Palauan-Flagged Cargo Ship
A container ship crosses an oil platform at the Gulf of Suez toward the Red Sea before entering the Suez Canal, outside of Cairo, Egypt, on Sept. 1, 2020. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)
Aldgra Fredly

The U.S. armed forces said Thursday they destroyed two Houthi patrol boats, one unmanned surface vessel, and one drone over the Red Sea after the Iranian-backed group launched missiles at a Palauan-flagged ship.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said that its forces also destroyed one air defense sensor in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

“It was determined these systems presented an imminent threat to U.S., coalition forces, and merchant vessels in the region,” CENTCOM said in a statement on June 13.

This came as the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists launched two anti-ship cruise missiles from Yemen and struck the foreign bulk cargo carrier M/V Verbena in the Gulf of Aden, the U.S. military stated.

CENTCOM said the M/V Verbena is a “Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated” cargo carrier that had recently docked in Malaysia and was en route to Italy, carrying wood construction material.

“M/V Verbena reported damage and subsequent fires on board. The crew continues to fight the fire,” CENTCOM said in a separate post on X.

One civilian mariner aboard the Verbena was severely injured in the attack. CENTCOM said the mariner was evacuated by an aircraft from the USS Philippine Sea to a nearby partner force ship for medical attention.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operation (UKMTO), a maritime monitoring component affiliated with the British Navy, said that a merchant vessel was hit by “two unknown projectiles” and caught fire.

The vessel was then hit by a third projectile, causing minor damage, but it was able to continue its journey, according to UKMTO.

In addition, CENTCOM said that the Houthis also launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Red Sea, but the attack did not cause any injuries or significant damage.
The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack on Verbena, saying that it was done in solidarity with the people in Gaza. A Houthi spokesperson said the Iranian-backed terror group also attacked two ships in the Red Sea.

CENTCOM has denounced the Houthis’ actions as “malign and reckless,” and pledged to continue working with partners “to hold the Houthis accountable and degrade their military capabilities.”

“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” the U.S. military stated.

The Houthi attacks on commercial shipping began in the fall of 2023 in response to the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, another terrorist group. On June 12, the Houthi group said it severely damaged a Liberian-flagged cargo ship using an unmanned surface vessel.

The Yemeni group has said that the attacks are targeting ships affiliated with Israel and demonstrate a measure of support for Gaza’s Palestinian population and that they will continue until the Gaza conflict ends.

Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.