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Navy tests laser weapon in Mideast

The U.S. Navy reported Wednesday that it tested a laser weapon in the Gulf of Aden, located between East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is based in the Mideast, said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that its Laser Weapon System Demonstrator “successfully engaged” a floating target. 

The laser in May 2020 brought down a flying drone, the AP noted.

The system that the Navy tested Tuesday could be employed to counter drone boats carrying bombs used by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea region, the AP reported.

The Houthis have previously sent drone boats with bombs, which can be controlled remotely and directed to a target before detonating, into the Gulf of Aden area, the news service added. The Houthis are suspected of constructing the boats with assistance from Iran. 

The Gulf of Aden is adjacent to Yemen, which has been at war since the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the country’s capital in 2014, the AP noted. In March, Saudi Arabia offered the rebels a cease-fire as part of a plan that would allow a major airport in Yemen that has not seen regular commercial flights since 2015 to reopen. Houthi officials turned down the plan, saying it was “nothing new.” 

The Saudi-led military campaign against the Houthis has become one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and millions of other people on the verge of famine, the AP noted.  

Tags Houthi insurgency in Yemen Houthi rebels Middle East US Navy
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