The United States recently carried out a cyberattack against an Iranian military ship that the Pentagon said was collecting intelligence on merchant ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and transmitting that information to Houthi fighters, a U.S. military official said Thursday. .

The cyberattack occurred as part of the Biden administration’s retaliation on Feb. 2 to a drone attack last month by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq that killed three U.S. soldiers at a remote outpost in Jordan and wounded dozens more, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters.

U.S. analysts had suspected for weeks that the ship, the MV Behshad, was operating near the African port of Djibouti, which lies across the Strait from Yemen, to spy on nearby ships and pass that information to Iran-backed Houthi rebels. . The Houthis, who control northern Yemen, have been firing missiles and drones at ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Iranian officials have denied the allegations. The Houthis have said their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians suffering from the Israeli attack on Gaza.

The cyberattack was aimed at disrupting the Iranian ship’s ability to share that information with the Houthis, according to the US military, which did not provide further details about the clandestine mission.

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, declined to comment on the matter Thursday.

The New York Times previously reported that the United States had carried out a cyberattack against Iranian targets as part of the response to avenge the deaths of the three soldiers in Jordan. That response also included retaliatory strikes against Iranian forces and the militias they support at seven sites in Syria and Iraq. NBC News first reported new details about the cyberattack on Thursday.

By Sam