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Houthi Missile Attack Rocks Chinese Ship in Red Sea: Raising Tensions

Houthi Missile Attack Rocks Chinese Ship in Red Sea: Raising Tensions

Houthi Missile Attack Rocks Chinese Ship in Red Sea: Raising Tensions

On Sunday, the US military reported a dramatic incident in the Red Sea. A Chinese-owned oil tanker, the MV Huang Pu, came under attack by Houthi rebels in Yemen. The attack involved four anti-ship ballistic missiles, one of which struck the vessel. Fortunately, there were no casualties reported aboard the ship, but the crew had a harrowing experience battling a fire for half an hour after the impact.

This attack is particularly concerning because the Houthis had previously claimed they wouldn’t target Chinese ships. The Red Sea is a vital waterway for global trade, carrying roughly 12% of the world’s total. Disruptions in this region can have a significant impact on economies worldwide.

The Houthis claim their actions, including a blockade of the Red Sea and potentially the Suez Canal, are intended to pressure those supporting Israel in the ongoing war with Gaza. China, along with many other nations, disapproves of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Additionally, China relies heavily on safe passage through the Red Sea for its own trade.

The US Central Command highlighted the apparent contradiction in the Houthis’ attack on the Chinese vessel.

The situation escalated further with a drone attack following the missile barrage. The USS Carney, a US warship, managed to “engage” five of these drones, causing them to crash. A sixth drone flew inland towards Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

The details surrounding the drone takedowns remain unclear. The US military often employs “soft kill” methods against drones. This involves jamming their electronic signals, disrupting their navigation and causing them to crash, rather than shooting them down with expensive missiles. The reasoning behind this approach is simple: missiles like the Standard Missile 2, costing millions of dollars per launch, are far more expensive than the drones they target, which can range from $50,000 to $200,000 – a cost-ineffective solution. The specific drones involved in this attack were identified as Wa’eed-2 drones, believed to be based on Iranian Shahed 136 models.

This incident in the Red Sea highlights the ongoing tensions in the region. The Houthi attack on a Chinese ship, despite previous assurances, raises concerns about the safety of vital trade routes. The US intervention with drone defenses adds another layer of complexity to the situation. The coming days will likely see further developments and diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and ensure safe passage through the Red Sea.

The Houthis, however, assert that their blockade of the Red Sea, extending to the Suez Canal, aims to exert economic pressure on supporters of Israel, urging them to cease the conflict in Gaza. China, like many other nations, opposes Israel’s actions in Gaza and relies on secure passages through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal for its supply chains.

In a statement, the US Central Command expressed dismay at the Houthis’ actions, highlighting the contradiction between their previous commitment not to attack Chinese vessels and the assault on the MV Huang Pu.

Following the missile strike, the ship faced another threat in the form of attack drones. The USS Carney intervened, engaging five of these drones, causing them to crash. However, one drone managed to evade interception and flew inland into areas controlled by the Houthis in Yemen.

Details regarding why the drones crashed instead of being shot down were not provided. The US military often employs tactics known as “soft kill” against drones, utilizing electronic signal jamming to disrupt their navigation. This approach is preferred over using costly interceptors like the Standard Missile 2, which can quickly deplete resources at around two million dollars per shot, especially when targeting drones valued between $50,000 and $200,000, such as the Wa’eed-2, based on the Iranian Shahed 136.

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