U.S. and coalition forces downed a swarm of dozens of aerial attack drones fired by Iran-backed Houthi militants toward the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden on Saturday, according to U.S. Central Command.

American, British and French forces repelled at least 28 drones in just over four hours during the “large-scale” attack that CENTCOM said presented an imminent threat to commercial and military vessels in the region.

The latest barrage of drones followed the Yemen-based group’s attack just days before on a commercial ship that killed three of its crew members and left several more injured. That was the group’s first fatal strike in its ongoing campaign of assaults on regional shipping in response to the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It also followed U.S. forces on Friday striking two truck-mounted anti-ship missiles in Yemen. The Houthis responded to that by firing two anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Gulf of Aden at M/V Propel Fortune, a Singapore-flagged vessel, which did not hit the ship.

In the most recent engagement, a French ship shot down four of the drones as a part of Operation ASPIDES, a European version of the U.S. Operation Prosperity Guardian that also looks to ensure the protection of commercial shipping in the region.

U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that the Royal Navy’s HMS Richmond used its Sea Ceptor missiles to shoot down two of the attack drones.

CENTCOM said no U.S., coalition or commercial ships were damaged in the attack.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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