A United States Navy destroyer successfully intercepted multiple airborne projectiles fired by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea this week. This development comes in the wake of a mission led by the U.S. to safeguard civilian vessels navigating through the crucial waterway, protecting them from potential threats originating in Yemen.
The USS Laboon effectively neutralized a variety of missiles and drones launched by Yemeni rebels towards Israel. Furthermore, F/A-18 fighters deployed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower successfully brought down several of these projectiles.
Reportedly, the intended target of this barrage was a ship berthed in the southern Israeli port city of Eilat.
U.S. assets, to include the USS LABOON (DDG 58) and F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, shot down twelve one-way attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two land attack cruise missiles in the Southern Red Sea that were fired by the… pic.twitter.com/vRQ5e6Au6d— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 26, 2023
U.S. Central Command reported that naval vessels successfully intercepted and destroyed twelve attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two land attack cruise missiles launched by the Houthis in the Southern Red Sea over a 10-hour period. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries or damage to any American ships.
Since the onset of the October 7 conflict between Israel and Hamas, the rebels have targeted both military and civilian vessels, including the hijacking of a civilian merchant ship associated with Israel. In response, the United States has announced a coalition of over a dozen countries to safeguard shipping in and around the Red Sea, a crucial waterway connected to the vital Suez Canal. Protection is essential as disruptions to sea traffic may necessitate lengthy detours, including circumventing Africa, if vessels cannot utilize the canal.
In spite of the introduction of the naval coalition, Yemen’s attacks persist. The Houthi rebels, who exert control over a significant portion of Yemen’s western region, continue their offensive.
Similar to Hamas, these rebels receive support from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has a history of engaging in comparable attacks on maritime targets. Just last week, a missile launched from Iran itself struck a civilian trading vessel off the coast of India.
Iran issued a warning of blocking access to the Mediterranean Sea. However, given the nation’s geographical location and military capabilities, this threat seems highly improbable.