A U.S. Navy destroyer shot down a number of airborne projectiles launched by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea this week. This follows the start of a U.S.-led mission to protect civilian ships traveling through the vital waterway from attacks emanating from Yemen.
The USS Laboon destroyed a number of missiles and drones the Yemeni rebels launched against Israel. In addition, F/A-18 fighters stationed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower shot down several of the projectiles.
The target of the barrage was allegedly a ship docked 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 said in a statement that the naval vessels 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 Houthis over a 10 hour period.” The statement adds that there was no damage to any American ship or reported injuries.
Since the start of the Oct. 7 war between Israel and Hamas, the rebels have attacked a number of military and civilian vessels. This includes the hijacking of a civilian merchant ship tied to Israel.
The United States announced a coalition of more than a dozen countries to protect shipping in and around the Red Sea. The sea connects to the crucial Suez Canal, through which much of the world’s sea traffic transits. If vessels are forced to reroute instead of using the canal, they must add thousands of miles, including a trip around Africa.
Despite the announcement of the naval coalition, the attacks from Yemen have continued. The Houthi rebels control much of Yemen’s western half.
The rebels, like Hamas, are backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran has also engaged in similar attacks on shipping. Last week a missile was fired from Iran itself that hit a civilian trading vessel off the coast of India.
Iran also threatened to cut off access to the Mediterranean Sea, although considering the country’s geographic position and military assets, this appears to be a highly unlikely threat.