US says it downs many drones, missiles fired by Huthis over Red Sea

An Israeli navy missile boat patrols in the Red Sea off the coast of Israel’s southern port city of Eliat on 26 December, 2023AFP

US military forces shot down more than a dozen attack drones and several missiles fired by Yemen-based Huthi rebels at shipping in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

“There was no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries,” the Pentagon’s Central Command said in a social media post, describing a barrage of 12 drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles and two land-attack missiles over a period of 10 hours.

Earlier, Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for a missile strike on a vessel in the Red Sea and a drone attack toward Israel in solidarity with Gaza.

In a statement, the rebels said they “carried out a targeting operation against a commercial ship” they identified as MSC UNITED, and launched a number of “drones against military targets” in southern Israel.

The attacks are the latest in a flurry of drone and missile strikes launched by the rebels since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on 7 October.

Also Read

The Huthis say they are targeting Israel and Israeli-linked vessels to push for a stop to the offensive in the Gaza Strip, where Israel is battling Hamas militants.

Also earlier on Tuesday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said “explosions (were) heard, missiles were sighted” near the port of Hodeida on Yemen’s west coast, adding that a transitting vessel and its crew were safe.

The ship later continued its voyage, without reporting any major damage or crew injuries, UKMTO said.

It followed two other explosions earlier Tuesday that struck near a vessel also off Hodeida, according to the British maritime authority.

Also Read

Explosions were likewise heard off the coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, Egyptian state-linked media said, with the Israeli army later saying it had intercepted aerial objects in the Red Sea.

“An air force fighter jet successfully intercepted earlier today in the Red Sea area a hostile aerial target that was on its way to Israeli territory,” the army said.

Al-Qahera News television channel, which has links to state intelligence, had said the blasts occurred about two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Egyptian seaside town of Dahab.

Dahab lies around 125 kilometres (75 miles) south of Eilat on the southern tip of Israel, the closest target for Yemen’s rebels.

“We heard a loud explosion coming from the direction of the sea, and then we saw a strange object falling into the water,” an eyewitness told AFP.
No casualties have been reported.

According to the Pentagon, the Huthis have launched more than 100 drone and missile attacks, targeting 10 merchant vessels involving more than 35 different countries.

The attacks are endangering a transit route that carries up to 12 per cent of global trade, prompting the United States to set up a multinational naval task force to protect Red Sea shipping.

The Huthis have also launched a series of attacks towards Israel, but most have failed to hit their targets.