MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The U.S. and a host of other nations are creating a new force to protect ships transiting the Red Sea that have come under attack by drones and ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced early Tuesday in Bahrain.
The seriousness of the attacks, several of which have damaged the vessels, has led multiple shipping companies to order their ships to hold in place and not enter the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until the security situation can be addressed.
The U.S. military’s Central Command reported two more of the attacks on commercial vessels Monday. A strike by attack drone and ballistic missile hit a tanker off Yemen, at roughly the same time a cargo ship reported an explosive detonating in the water near them, the military said.
“This is an international challenge that demands collective action,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in statement released just after midnight in Bahrain. “Therefore today I am announcing the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian, an important new multinational security initiative.”