German warship, part of EU Red Sea mission, shoots down two drones

Illustrative: In this image provided by the US Navy, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall and amphibious assault ship USS Bataan transit the Bab el-Mandeb strait on August 9, 2023. (Mass Communications Spc. 2nd Class Moises Sandoval/US Navy via AP)
Illustrative: In this image provided by the US Navy, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall and amphibious assault ship USS Bataan transit the Bab el-Mandeb strait on August 9, 2023. (Mass Communications Spc. 2nd Class Moises Sandoval/US Navy via AP)

A German warship shot down two drones in the Red Sea on Tuesday amid escalating attacks by Yemen’s Houthis and efforts by the European Union to protect international shipping, German officials say.

Shipping risks have increased due to repeated strikes by the Iran-aligned Houthis in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait since November in what they describe as acts of solidarity with Palestinians against Israel in the Gaza war.

US and British forces have responded with several airstrikes on Houthi facilities but have so far failed to halt the attacks.

The German navy frigate Hessen, which was deployed earlier this month to the region, shot the drones down within 20 minutes of each one being fired, a defense ministry spokesperson tells a news briefing, declining comment on the target of the projectiles.

“They were recognized by the radar system and had a different range. That’s why two different weapons were used,” the ministry spokesperson says.

The warship identified a suspicious drone on Monday but was unable to shoot it down successfully, the spokesperson adds.

“This is… probably the most dangerous deployment of the German navy for many, many years,” a German government spokesperson tells the briefing separately.

“The increased insurance costs, along with the diversion of ships to longer routes to avoid high-risk areas, will strain global supply chains,” he says.

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