US shoots down 12 Houthi attack drones and five missiles in Red Sea

Attacks on merchant ships by Iranian-backed Yemeni militia in the Red Sea have caused havoc with global supply routes

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 26 December 2023 22:31
Billions in Cargo Diverted From Red Sea After Houthi Attacks

United States forces shot down a barrage of drones and missiles over the southern Red Sea that were fired from Yemen by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the US Central Command announced.

The USS Laboon destroyer and F-18 Super Hornets destroyed 12 one-way attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles, and two land attack cruise missiles fired from Houthi-controlled territory over 10 hours on Tuesday, Central Command said in a statement.

There were no reported injuries or damage to ships.

Drone and missile attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels against cargo ships in the Red Sea have disrupted global supply chains and forced most large shipping companies to halt shipping through the vital corridor.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week announced a new US-led multinational operation to protect ships operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The operation includes military personnel from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Bahrain.

The USS Laboon destroyer shot down a barrage of drone and missiles over the Red Sea fired from Somalia by Houthi rebels on 26 December, the US Central Command says

The US had already deployed the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to the Middle East in early November, amid rising tensions over the devastating Israeli operation in Gaza that has claimed more than 20,000 Palestinian lives.

The Biden administration has blamed Iran, which also funds and trains Hamas, for attacks by Houthi militants against commercial and military vessels entering the Suez Canal.

The US earlier on Tuesday carried out strikes against Iran-backed militia groups in Iraq after three US service members were wounded in drone strikes on Erbil Air Base in northern Iraq on Christmas Day.

The Kataib Hezbollah militia and affiliated groups, under an umbrella of Iranian-backed militants, claimed responsibility for the attack, which left one service member in a critical condition.

US forces in the Middle East have faced escalating threats since the 7 October Hamas terror attacks on Israel, which claimed the lives of around 1200 Israelis.

On Monday, Iran vowed to take revenge for the death of one of its top generals, Seyed Razi Mousavi, who was killed on the outskirts of the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Mousavi had been a close ally of General Qassem Soleimani, the former head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020.

President Joe Biden was briefed on Monday’s drone attack on US forces in Iraq and ordered the Department of Defense to prepare a response, according to White House national security council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

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