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The Alborz in the background

Iran Sends Destroyer Into Red Sea, Amid Attacks on Shipping

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Iran has sent a warship into the Red Sea, Iranian state media reported on January 1.

The 51-year-old destroyer Alborz entered the Red Sea through the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait, according to the Tasnim news agency. The news group is tied to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The ship was sent into the region amid increased tension involving the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels. In recent months, the rebels repeatedly have launched missile and drone attacks against merchant shipping in the critical international shipping lane.

READ MORE: US Navy Sinks 3 Houthi Boats That Fired on American Helicopters, Attacked Merchant Ship in Red Sea

On Sunday, US Navy helicopters from the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group fired on Houthi rebels who were attempting to board a Maersk cargo ship off Yemen, with the Houthis reporting 10 fighters dead or missing. Helicopters from the USS Eisenhower and the USS Gravely responded to a distress call from the civilian cargo ship Maersk Hangzhao, saying it was under attack from Houthi fighters, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). It was the second distress call from the ship in less than 24 hours. 

A social media user claiming to be a Houthi agent in Yemen told Soldier of Fortune publisher Susan Katz Keating in late November that the group will attack American warships in the Red Sea, aided by collaborators on board the vessels. The agent did not give details regarding the claim, which has been dismissed by U.S. defense officials as propaganda.

READ MORE:  ‘We Will Attack American Warships,’ Houthi Agent Tells Soldier of Fortune Publisher

Britain’s Defence Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday said Britain was willing to take direct action against the Houthis in order to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.

“The Houthis should be under no misunderstanding: We are committed to holding malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks,” Shapps said.

The United States has established a multination naval task force to protect shipping in the region.

About Susan Katz Keating

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