The Pentagon said U.S. and coalition forces defeated a “large-scale attack” by Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea this weekend, shooting down at least 28 drones. 

The escalated attack is one of the largest in the past few months. 

Earlier in the week, an anti-ship ballistic missile struck the MV True Confidence, killing three and marking the first lives claimed since attacks began. 

On Saturday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said, “Following further engagements through the morning, U.S. and Coalition forces downed a total of at least 28 uncrewed aerial vehicles between 4:00 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. (Sanaa time) on March 9. No U.S. or Coalition Navy vessels were damaged in the attack and there were also no reports by commercial ships of damage.” 

An update announcing the defeat added, “US and Coalition Defeat Houthi Attack in Red Sea Area Between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists conducted a large-scale uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) attack into the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. 


British cargo ship sunk in Red Sea

This photo, provided by Yemeni Al-Joumhouria TV, shows the British-registered cargo ship “Rubymar” sinking after it was targeted by Yemen’s Houthi forces in international waters in the Red Sea on March 7, 2024. (Al-Joumhouriah channel via Getty Images)

“CENTCOM and coalition forces identified the one-way attack (OWA) UAVs and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels, U.S. Navy, and coalition ships in the region,” it said. “U.S. Navy vessels and aircraft along with multiple coalition navy ships and aircraft shot down 15 OWA UAVs. These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure.” 

U.S. Army Vessel General Frank S. Besson departed Virginia on Saturday en route to the Eastern Mediterranean carrying the first equipment to establish a temporary pier in Gaza after President Biden announced the plan during his State of the Union address on Thursday. The U.S. conducted an additional humanitarian aid drop on Sunday. 

Houthi rebels chant in Yemen

Yemen’s Houthi followers chant slogans as they participate in a gathering to show solidarity with people in the Gaza Strip and against the continued Israeli bombardment and military operations, on March 7, 2024, in Sana’a, Yemen. (Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

In that latest drop alone, CENTCOM said, “U.S. C-130’s dropped over 27,600 U.S. meal equivalents and approximately 25,900 bottles of water into Northern Gaza, an area of great need, allowing for civilian access to the critical aid.” 


During his State of the Union address, Biden said of the emergency mission to establish a temporary pier on the coast of Gaza that “no U.S. boots will be on the ground.” 

“A temporary pier will enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day,” Biden said Thursday. “And Israel must also do its part. Israel must allow more aid into Gaza and ensure humanitarian workers aren’t caught in the crossfire.” 

Houthi mock drones on display in Yemen

A Yemeni man walks under mock drones displayed in solidarity with Palestinians against the USA-led aerial attacks on Yemen on Feb. 25, 2024, in Sana’a, Yemen. (Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Friday humanitarian aid drops will continue as part of a “full court press” plan to deliver aid to the region.


“The DoD maintains the ability to provide unique capabilities from offshore without a U.S. military presence within Gaza,” Ryder added of the planned pier along the Gaza coast. “We’re coordinating with other nations to assist with operating the causeway and distributing aid into Gaza. The concept that is being planned involves the presence of U.S. military personnel on military vessels offshore, but does not require U.S. military personnel to go ashore.” 

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