US Intercepts 12 Attack Drones, Five Missiles Launched By Iran-Backed Houthis In Red Sea: Report

Nishtha Anushree

Dec 27, 2023, 05:28 PM | Updated 05:28 PM IST

Red Sea map
Red Sea map

On Tuesday (26 December), the United States announced that it had intercepted twelve attack drones and five missiles, allegedly launched by the Iran-supported Houthi group. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that there were no damages to ships in the vicinity, nor were there any injuries.

"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 Houthis over a 10 hour period which began at approximately 6:30 a.m. (Sanaa time) on December 26. There was no damage to ships in the area or reported injuries," the US CENTCOM posted on X.

The Times of Israel reports that the USS Laboon, a guided-missile destroyer, along with F-18 fighter jets from the Eisenhower carrier strike group, are stationed in the southern Red Sea. They are part of a US-led coalition designed to safeguard shipping lanes from Houthi attacks in the crucial Bab el-Mandeb strait.

The statement from the US came subsequent to the Israel Defence Forces' declaration of intercepting a "hostile aerial target" advancing towards Israel, under the surveillance of the IAF's air traffic control. The Houthis, supported by Iran, asserted that they launched drones at Eilat as a show of unity with Gaza.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the spokesman for the IDF, labeled the assaults as "acts of terror" orchestrated by Iran. He added that this act is executed following Iranian instructions.

The IDF disclosed video evidence of the interception that took place off the coast of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Reports from witnesses quoted in Egyptian news outlets suggest that they observed an object descending into the Gulf of Aqaba, close to Dahab.

The Times of Israel reported that Al Qahera News television, associated with state intelligence, announced the occurrence of explosions approximately two kilometres from the coastal Egyptian town of Dahab. This town is situated roughly 125 kilometres south of Eilat.

There have been no reported casualties or damage. Footage from Al-Arabiya depicted the interception in the air. The Houthis, based in Yemen, have taken responsibility for a missile strike on MSC UNITED and the launching of drones towards southern Israel. Numerous drone and missile attacks have been carried out by the Houthis against Israel, the majority of which have been intercepted.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas initiated on 7 October, following the incursion of thousands of Hamas militants across the border, resulting in the deaths of numerous Israelis.

The Houthis assert their unity with Gaza, stating that over 20,900 individuals have been killed.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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