US Navy Intercepts Dozens of Drones, Missiles Launched From Yemen in Red Sea in 10 Hour Barrage

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
December 27, 2023Middle East
US Navy Intercepts Dozens of Drones, Missiles Launched From Yemen in Red Sea in 10 Hour Barrage
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits the Suez Canal, Egypt, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy via Reuters)

The U.S. military intercepted a barrage of drones and missiles allegedly launched by Houthi rebels in the southern Red Sea over a ten-hour period on Dec. 26, according to officials.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said American forces shot down a total of 12 drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two land attack cruise missiles fired by Iran-aligned Houthis toward ships in the southern Red Sea.

“U.S. assets, including the USS LABOON (DDG 58) and F/A-18 Super Hornets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group intercepted the missiles, which were initially launched at approximately 6:30 a.m. (Sanaa time),” Centcom said.

There was no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries despite the ten-hour-long barrage, according to officials.

Tuesday’s incident marked the latest attack by Houthis on vessels operating in vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, following a string of similar incidents this month.

The Iran-aligned Houthis have also claimed to have launched ballistic missiles and one-way drones in the direction of Israel in the wake of the militant group Hamas’s surprise assault on Israel in October.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have not yet commented on the most recent attack but did claim responsibility for a separate attack on Tuesday in which the group launched a missile strike on an MSC United Commercial ship, which is owned by MSC Mediterranean Shipping, and was en route from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

Houthi forces spokesman Yahya Saree said on X that the attack came after the Houthi side had issued repeated warning messages to the crew of MSC United which were ignored by the merchant ship’s crew.

‘Solidarity With the Palestinian People’

“The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm their continued support and solidarity with the Palestinian people as consistent with their religious, moral, and humanitarian duty,” the spokesman said.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company confirmed the Tuesday attack in a statement, noting that all crew were safe and no injuries have been reported.

The shipping firm said the vessel informed a nearby coalition task force warship of the attack and as instructed engaged in evasive maneuvers.

It is currently conducting an assessment of the damages and will avoid using the Suez Canal going forward, instead diverting vessels to sail via the Cape of Good Hope.

“Our first priority remains protecting the lives and safety of our seafarers, and until their safety can be ensured MSC will continue to reroute vessels booked for Suez transit via the Cape of Good Hope,” the company said.

Additionally, Mr. Saree said Houthi forces had also launched drone and missile attacks targeting the Umm al-Rashrash area, also known as the city of Eilat, on Tuesday.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels take over the Galaxy Leader Cargo in the Red Sea coast off Hudaydah in the Red Sea, Yemen, on Nov. 20, 2023, in a still from video. (Houthi Movement via Getty Images)

Pentagon Announces Joint Red Sea Operation

Mr. Saree did not confirm if any of the targets were hit or if any injuries occurred as a result of the missile attacks.

“The Yemeni armed forces confirm the continuation of their operations in the Red and Arab Bahrain against Israeli ships or those heading to the ports” of Israel, he said.

Mr. Saree added that the Houthi side will continue to target Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of Israel as part of an alleged effort to ensure humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The latest incidents come after the United States and a string of other nations including the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain, launched a new joint task force known as “Operation Prosperity Guardian” to safeguard commercial shipping operations in the Red Sea.

Between 10 and 15 percent of global shipping flows through the Red Sea.

According to the Pentagon, the attacks by Houthi rebels are impacting global trade and commerce, and negatively impacting the economies of nations around the world. They are also costing commercial shipping firms billions of dollars.

Speaking at a Dec. 21 press conference, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said the new joint initiative will see participating nations contribute military assets like ships and aircraft to help bolster security in the area.

“It’s a defensive coalition meant to reassure global shipping and mariners that the international community is there to help with safe passage,” he said, adding that the United States will continue to “work with this coalition of the willing where countries will be able to contribute what they feel that they can.”

From The Epoch Times

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