Photo Credit: US Navy
The guided missile destroyers USS Mason and USS Laboon steam in formation with the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhowerin the Atlantic Ocean on July 4, 2023.

The United States military said on Tuesday night that its forces had intercepted 12 attack drones and five missiles in the southern Red Sea launched by Houthi terrorists in Yemen.

Two hours earlier, the Israeli military announced that an Israeli Air Force fighter jet had shot down a “hostile aerial target that was on its way to Israeli territory,” adding that the “air control unit tracked the target throughout the incident.”


U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) tweeted that the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group struck the drones and missiles, which included three anti-ship ballistic missiles and two cruise missiles.

The drones and missiles were “fired by the Houthis over a 10 hour period which began at approximately 6:30 a.m. (Sanaa time) on December 26. There was no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries,” CENTCOM said.

From bases along the Yemeni coast, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have threatened ships in the Red Sea as they traverse the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, a narrow maritime chokepoint between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. The majority of the world’s oil passes through the strait from the Indian Ocean towards the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.

The Houthis vowed in early December to target any Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea, regardless of its ownership. They have attacked or harassed a number of ships, and hijacked the Galaxy Leader in November. The cargo ship and its crew of 25 are being held hostage in the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

Major shipping companies have responded to the threat by rerouting vessels away from the Suez Canal-Red Sea route to going around the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa, a much longer journey.

In response, the US is leading Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational coalition of naval forces protecting shipping in the Red Sea.

Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, will resume operations in the Red Sea despite Houthi threats, the Danish company announced on Sunday.

The White House on December 22 accused Iran of helping to plan Houthi attacks against cargo vessels during the Israel-Hamas war.

“We know that Iran was deeply involved in planning the operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This is consistent with Iran’s long-term materiel support and encouragement of the Houthis’ destabilizing actions in the region,” White House national security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.


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