US sinks 3 ships, kills 10 after Houthi Red Sea attack

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(VOVWORLD) - US helicopters repelled an attack by Houthi militants on a Maersk container vessel in the Red Sea, sinking three ships and killing 10 militants. 

The naval battle occurred on Sunday as the attackers sought to board the Singapore-flagged Maersk Hangzhou, Maersk and US Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

Helicopters from the USS Eisenhower and USS Gravely joined the ship's security team in repelling the attackers after receiving a distress call.

Maersk said it was pausing all sailing through the Red Sea for 48 hours after the attack.

A spokesman for the Houthis said the group carried out the attack because the ship's crew refused to heed warning calls.

He said 10 Houthi naval personnel were "dead and missing" after their boats were attacked by US forces in the Red Sea.

Yemen's Houthis have been targeting vessels in the Red Sea since November to show their support for Hamas, prompting major shipping companies to take the longer and costlier route around the Africa's Cape of Good Hope rather than through the Suez Canal.