Photo Credit: US Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau
231019-N-GF955-1104 RED SEA (Oct. 19, 2023) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, Oct. 19. Carney is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau)

The United States and United Kingdom military forces intercepted 21 missiles and Houthi drones launched from Yemen to the southern Red Sea on Tuesday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

The Iranian-backed Houthis launched a complex attack of Iranian-designed one-way attack UAVs (OWA UAVs), anti-ship cruise missiles, and an anti-ship ballistic missile at around 9:15 pm (Sanaa time) from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen towards international shipping lanes in the southern Red Sea, where dozens of merchant vessels were transiting.


“Eighteen OWA UAVs, two anti-ship cruise missiles, and one anti-ship ballistic missile were shot down by a combined effort of F/A-18s from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mason (DDG 87), and the United Kingdom’s HMS Diamond (D34),” CENTCOM said in a statement.

The incident constituted the 26th Houthi attack on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea since Nov. 19. There were no injuries or damage reported.

British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said in a separate statement that “the situation in the Red Sea is not sustainable,” adding the target of the attack was, among other things, a British ship.

“There is no doubt that the Iranians are helping the Houthis carry out attacks,” Shapps said.

The German foreign ministry likewise condemned the attack, adding, “This is a clear escalation against international trade and ships in the region.”

Fourteen countries, including the US, issued a joint statement one week ago (Jan. 3) warning that the Houthis would “bear the responsibility for the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, or the free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways.”

Singapore announced Tuesday that it, too, will participate in the multinational ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’ task force under the ambit of Combined Task Force 153: Red Sea Maritime Security intended to ensure the freedom of navigation in the waterway.

Two US security officials quoted by CNN said the Navy intercepted 24 missiles and UAVs. According to the sources, the interceptions — carried out by three destroyers — occurred in response to “one of the largest Houthi attacks that occurred in the Red Sea in recent months.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.