Flanked with her victories: HMS Diamond returns with series of 'kill marks' on her side after the destroyer shot down nine Houthi drones using Sea Viper surface-to-air missiles in the Red Sea

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  • British warship returned after Red Sea mission to thwart Iran-backed rebels

British warship HMS Diamond arrived back in Gibraltar with fresh ‘kill marks’ on her flanks after a Red Sea mission to thwart Iran-backed rebel attacks.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the British destroyer had shot down nine Houthi drones whilst defending itself from a wave of attacks.

These achievements are marked by the silhouettes of painted drones on the warship’s bridge wings.

HMS Diamond was spotted in Gibraltar over the weekend and heading into the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal after a months-long deployment in the hostile waters of the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels continue their campaign of aggression.

The Type 45 destroyer pictured with nine drone silhouettes are kill counts of what appear to be seven Samad-type kamikaze drones, one Mersad and one Shahed (Wa-aed). 

There is also a marking of what is likely a larger twin-tail boom reconnaissance drone, some of which U.S. Central Command has indicated are operated in the region by Iran directly. 

British warship HMS Diamond arrived back in Gibraltar with fresh 'kill marks' on her flanks after a Red Sea mission to thwart Iran-backed rebel attacks

British warship HMS Diamond arrived back in Gibraltar with fresh ‘kill marks’ on her flanks after a Red Sea mission to thwart Iran-backed rebel attacks

The HMS Diamond firing her Sea Viper missiles in the Red Sea last month

The HMS Diamond firing her Sea Viper missiles in the Red Sea last month

Royal Navy warship destroying a jet drone during test of naval and missile defences

Royal Navy warship destroying a jet drone during test of naval and missile defences

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the British destroyer had shot down nine Houthi drones whilst defending itself from a wave of attacks

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the British destroyer had shot down nine Houthi drones whilst defending itself from a wave of attacks

HMS Diamond was replaced in the Red Sea by the Type 23 Frigate HMS Richmond.

READ MORE: Brits are warned price rices sparked by Houthi rebel attacks are ‘imminent’ as shipping giants divert around South Africa 

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Announcing the end of her mission last week, the Ministry of Defense said: ‘The destroyer came under fire in three separate attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, successfully destroying nine drones using her world-class Sea Viper missile system and guns.

‘The UK continues to be at the forefront of the international response to the Houthis’ illegal attacks on commercial shipping – participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian, intercepting weapon-smuggling to Yemen, imposing sanctions to hold members of the Houthis to account and conducting necessary, proportionate and targeted strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen.’

It comes after reports last month of the HMS Diamond successfully repelling a drone strike from the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter/X: ‘The UK remains undaunted after yesterday’s illegal attack on @HMSDiamond by the Iranian-backed Houthis. Our commitment to protect innocent lives and the freedom of navigation is absolutely unwavering.’

The British destroyer along with US Navy ships deployed in the area have been been targeted by the group in the past. 

Royal Navy warship HMS Defender testing her Sea Viper missile system

Royal Navy warship HMS Defender testing her Sea Viper missile system

Military kamikaze drone flying over forest in the clouds

Military kamikaze drone flying over forest in the clouds

HMS Diamond, seen from the ships operations room, before firing her Sea Viper missiles at an incoming Houthi drone last month

HMS Diamond, seen from the ships operations room, before firing her Sea Viper missiles at an incoming Houthi drone last month

The Marlin Luanda burning after it was struck by a Yemeni missile last month; the fire raged for up to 20 hours, according to the French military

The Marlin Luanda burning after it was struck by a Yemeni missile last month; the fire raged for up to 20 hours, according to the French military

Also last month, concerns were raised about Britain’s ability to defend itself from Houthi attacks following a strike on British oil tanker Marlin Luanda.

READ MORE: Yemen Houthi rebels fire a missile at a US warship, escalating worst Mideast sea conflict in decades 

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Yemen’s armed forces took immediate responsibility for the strike, labelling the vessel a ‘British oil ship’ as it said the attack was part of its continued campaign of ‘practical solidarity’ with Palestine amid Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas.

The US went on to destroy another anti-ship missile that it said was ready to fire – as defence sources in the UK claimed that Royal Navy ships could not help because they lack surface-to-surface missiles that could carry out similar strikes. 

Reports suggest that the Navy frigates deployed to the Red Sea cannot join in on the US retaliatory strikes; instead, Britain’s military is targeting Houthi drones targeting ships in the region over water.

The UK has assisted with some strikes on land-based targets in Yemen – but only after dispatching RAF planes from over 1,000 miles away in Cyprus.

A source said told the Telegraph the HMS Diamond lacked ‘the capability to fire to land targets’ – concerns which were echoed by former defence secretary Michael Portillo.

HMS Diamond has been replaced in the Red Sea by the Type 23 Frigate HMS Richmond (pictured)

HMS Diamond has been replaced in the Red Sea by the Type 23 Frigate HMS Richmond (pictured)

Attacks by Houthi rebels on container ships in the Red Sea are expected to cause 'imminent' price rises and have a knock-on effect on inflation and even mortgages, Brits have been warned. Pictured: A video showing the hijacking of a shipping vessel in November

Attacks by Houthi rebels on container ships in the Red Sea are expected to cause ‘imminent’ price rises and have a knock-on effect on inflation and even mortgages, Brits have been warned. Pictured: A video showing the hijacking of a shipping vessel in November

The US has relabelled the Houthis as a terrorist group in recent weeks after dropping the classification shortly after President Joe Biden entered office.

Yemeni rebels’ continued attacks on merchant ships in and around the Red Sea pose a threat to global trade; some transport firms, including Maersk, say they will not send ships through the route that includes the Suez Canal.

Instead, many boats are taking the longer and more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in order to avoid Houthi patrols.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials have asked their counterparts in Iran to help rein in attacks on ships in the Red Sea or risk harming business relations with Beijing.

The Reuters news agency reported meetings between China and Iran amid concerns the attacks on ships could hamper Chinese trade.