Houthi Attacks Continue with Claims of Downed U.S. Drone

US drone targeted
Image from unverified Houthi video

Published May 23, 2024 12:43 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Houthi attacks are continuing just at greater intervals than at the height of their assault on shipping. After a five-day interval, they are making fresh claims including an attack on a US drone while security monitors are confirming a new attack on a merchant ship.

The international efforts at protection continue to respond to the launches of weapons by the Houthi. U.S. Central Command reported downing four uncrewed aerial systems on May 22 without reporting any specific vessels that were being targeted. The previous reports from CENTCOM came on May 18 when the tanker Wind was struck sustaining damage to its steering gear and the U.S. reported downing one anti-ship ballistic missile.

EUNAVFOR Aspides highlights its role is mostly for protection reporting that as of May 19, they had escorted 120 vessels in three months of operation. During that time, they report destroying 12 aerial drones and one surface drone. They also intercepted four ballistic missiles. 

The Houthi continue to claim success. They issued an unconfirmed report that they had downed their fifth American MQ-9 raptor drone in the airspace over Yemen. They issued on social media an unverified video on social media claiming to have used a locally made surface-to-air missile for the downing on May 21. They issued a similar video on May 17 claiming another downing.

The UK Maritime Trade Organizations and private security firm Ambrey are both reporting today that a missile impacted the water near an unnamed merchant ship. The incident took place 98 nautical miles south of Al Hudaydah. The master of the vessel told UKMTO that the missile struck the water on the port side of the ship and that they were continuing on course. 

Ambrey cited two incidents. An approach 68 miles from Yemen and a vessel reporting that an object struck the water 33 miles from Mokha, Yemen. As with the other report they are saying it was a close miss with additional details not provided.

Aspides in its running tally of incidents reports a total since November 2023 of 161 reports as of May 18. This includes both attacks on vessels as well as the destruction of drones and missiles by U.S. and EU forces.

The declared leader of the Houthi, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi delivered another of his speeches today in which he claimed they have identified vessels that have called in Haifa or Ashdod and sent the vessels warnings that they are not listed as targets.