Frigate “Hessen” repels first Houthi attack in the Red Sea

As of: February 28, 2024 6:26 a.m

The German Navy is involved in protecting civilian merchant shipping in the Red Sea. Now the frigate “Hessen” fired live shots for the first time and destroyed two drones belonging to the Yemeni Houthi militia.

The frigate “Hessen”, which was deployed in the Red Sea to protect merchant ships, repelled the first attack by the Houthi militia operating from Yemen.

According to the Bundeswehr, the ship taking part in the EU military mission “Aspides” destroyed two drones. It was the German Navy’s first use of live weapons in the operation that began on Friday and is considered the Navy’s most dangerous mission in the history of the Bundeswehr.

Constant shelling by Houthis

The Houthi militia, allied with Iran, wants to force an end to the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip by shelling merchant ships in the Red Sea. The Israeli military operation is a response to the terrorist attack by the Islamist Hamas on October 7th.

The sea route through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal is one of the most important trade routes in the world. Because of the attacks by the Houthis, who are armed by Iran, large shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the shortest sea connection between Asia and Europe – with significant effects on the global economy.

Pistorius: “One of the most dangerous missions in decades”

On Friday, the Bundestag approved German participation in the EU mission “Aspides”. The “Hessen” had previously set off from Wilhelmshaven towards the operational area with the aim of being able to begin fulfilling the order immediately after the Bundestag decision.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the operation would contribute to stabilizing the region. Pistorius: “But we must also be clear: the operation of the ‘Hessen’ is one of the most dangerous for the German Navy in decades.”

Houthis want to expand attacks

Last week, the Houthi militia said it wanted to expand attacks on merchant ships off the country’s coast. The group’s leader, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, said in a televised speech that they are relying on escalation as a response to Israel’s escalation in the Gaza Strip. So far 48 ships have been attacked. He also announced the use of underwater weapons.

Several Western countries, including the USA and Great Britain, are involved in operations to counter the attacks.

Georg Schwarte, ARD Berlin, tagesschau, February 28, 2024 6:06 a.m

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