Royal Navy sends lethal warship HMS Diamond to the Gulf to protect international vessels from Iranian terror attacks in wake of Gaza war – after Tehran-backed Houthi rebels seized Israeli cargo ship
The Royal Navy is sending one of its most advanced warships to the Gulf to protect international ships from terrorist attacks.
HMS Diamond will attempt to thwart Iranian attempts to control the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s strategically most important water passages.
Her deployment comes days after Iran-backed Houthi rebels descended by helicopter and seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship.
Earlier this week, Tehran released footage of one of its drones flying over the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower as it sailed in the Strait.
Both incidents were thought to be linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict, raising fears of heightened regional tensions.
The Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond is deployed in the Gulf in a show of force by the British government
Footage filmed by Iranian-backed rebels shows them approaching the Bahamian-flagged ‘Galaxy Leader’ ship by helicopter in the southern Red Sea
Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced the deployment of HMS Diamond last night
Last night, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Recent events have proven how crucial the Middle East remains to global security and stability.
‘Following the outbreak of renewed conflict in Israel and Gaza and the unlawful and brutal seizure of MV Galaxy Leader by Houthis in the Red Sea, it is vital that Britain strengthens its presence, to protect Britain and our interests protect against a more volatile and contentious world.
“Today’s deployment will help keep critical trade routes open and prove that our commitment to regional security is not only sustained, but enhanced.”
Known as a jewel of the Royal Navy, HMS Diamond is a Type 45 destroyer packed with advanced military sensors, such as Sampson radar, and advanced weapons. Her sleek design also makes her virtually invisible on enemy radar.
Its Sea Viper anti-aircraft missile system will protect commercial and military vessels including the Royal Navy’s HMS Lancaster and three British mine hunting ships, HMS Bangor, HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Middleton, already deployed there.
Portsmouth-based HMS Diamond has a crew of up to 200 sailors and is equipped with a Wildcat helicopter, which can be used by Royal Marine commandos to board enemy ships.
More than 150 commercial ships carrying an estimated £6 billion of goods pass through the strait every day, underscoring its importance to the global economy.
HMS Diamond (pictured) is equipped with a large number of advanced weapons
These ships are vulnerable to attack due to the narrowness of the strait, only 30 miles in some places. The strait connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.
Israel condemned the attack on the Galaxy Leader, which was en route from Turkey to India when it was captured near Yemen.
Reports suggested it is owned by an Israeli billionaire. Her 25 crew members of different nationalities were taken hostage.
Terrifying footage of the hijacking showed armed gunmen storming the tanker by helicopter before storming the bridge and seizing the ship.
The ship was chartered by a Japanese group and was flying the flag of the Bahamas at the time of the raid.
A photographer said the Galaxy Leader was anchored in the rebel-controlled port of Hodeida in northwestern Yemen and heavily guarded. It now flew the Yemeni and Palestinian flags.
A helicopter approached the Galaxy Leader and dropped off several Houthi fighters
The rebels approached the bridge with their weapons drawn
The cargo ship (photo) sailed south along the Arabian Peninsula on its way to India. It is registered under a British company partly owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar
The Houthis have declared themselves part of the “axis of resistance” of Iran’s allies and allies, and have also launched a series of drones and missiles towards Israel.
In a chilling threat after the attack, the Iran-backed terror group declared: “All ships belonging to or associated with the Israeli enemy will become legitimate targets.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the cargo ship’s seizure an “Iranian act of terror.” While the Israeli army described the hijacking as a ‘very serious incident with global consequences’.
Earlier this month, the Houthis shot down a US military drone off the coast of Yemen.
It followed a series of rebel attacks on American warships. Last week, a US Navy ship in the Red Sea shot down several one-way attack drones launched by the Yemen-based Red Sea rebel group.
Navy warship USS Thomas Hudner (pictured in 2021) shot down multiple one-way attack drones launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen while operating in the Red Sea
The drone strike follows a wave of drone and missile attacks on US troops stationed in Iraq and Syria, launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
U.S. Central Command said in a statement that there were no injuries to the crew or damage to the ship
The drones were destroyed Wednesday morning by USS Thomas Hudner, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.
U.S. Central Command said in a statement that there were no injuries to the crew or damage to the ship.
The attack followed a similar incident last month, in which the US Navy destroyer USS Carney shot down an Iranian-made Houthi drone.
There was no damage to the Carney or any injuries to the American crew on board. The warship was sailing near the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.