Paris [France], February 22: Two French frigates have shot down two drones in the Red Sea after previously registering multiple drone attacks from the direction of Yemen, the French Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
"These actions contribute to maritime security, from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Hormuz, and support the defence of freedom of navigation," said the ministry in Paris.
The EU military operation to secure commercial shipping in the Red Sea pursues the same goal, according to the statement.
Houthi militants from Yemen have been attacking ships in the Red Sea in what they say is retaliation for Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.
A US MQ-9 military drone was shot down off the Yemeni coast by a missile launched by Houthi militia on Monday, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in Washington on Tuesday. The Houthis had already shot down a US military MQ-9 drone in November. There had been an increase in attacks by the Houthi militia on US forces and commercial shipping in the Read Sea over the weekend, Singh said.
Several Western states, including the US and the UK, have launched operations to protect ships in the region. A EU naval mission called Aspides was approved on Monday. Aspides vessels will have orders only to fire on the militants if they attack first, and will not be authorized to shoot pre-emptively. The operational command is to be in the Greek city of Larissa. The Red Sea is one of the most important shipping routes for world trade, as it connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal in Egypt.
Source: Qatar Tribune