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LONDON: US and UK forces have shot down more than 20 drones and missiles over the Red Sea launched by Yemen’s Huthis, in what London branded Wednesday the “largest attack” yet by the Iran-backed rebels.

The Western allies’ warships and planes took out 18 drones and three missiles in their latest Red Sea military intervention on Tuesday, the US military said.

The Huthis later said they had fired a “large number” of missiles and drones at a US ship, without giving details of timing and location.

HMS Diamond, a British destroyer, intervened with “her guns and Sea Viper missiles” as drones were “heading for her and commercial shipping in the area”, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said.

It comes a week after 12 nations led by the United States warned the Huthis of consequences unless they immediately halted firing on commercial vessels in the busy international shipping corridor.

The Huthis say they are targeting Israeli-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is battling group Hamas.

“Overnight, HMS Diamond, along with US warships, successfully repelled the largest attack from the Iranian-backed Huthis in the Red Sea to date,” Shapps said in a statement. Shapps later said on Sky News that there was “no doubt at all Iran is guiding what is happening there in the Red Sea”, providing Huthis with equipment and intelligence to enable the attacks.

“Enough is enough,” said Shapps.

“We must be clear with the Huthis that this has to stop and that is my simple message to them today: Watch this space.”

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