update deskIsrael at War

IAF intercepts cruise missile headed for Eilat

The projectile did not enter Israeli territory.

The southern Israeli city of Eilat. Oct. 21, 2015. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.
The southern Israeli city of Eilat. Oct. 21, 2015. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.

Israel Air Force jets intercepted a cruise missile heading for the Red Sea resort city of Eilat on Wednesday afternoon.

The missile did not enter Israeli territory, the military said.

Israel has bolstered its naval presence in the Red Sea area following repeated missile and drone attacks from Yemen.

Missile boats were deployed “in accordance with the assessment of the situation and as part of the increased defense efforts in the region,” the IDF said.

On Nov. 9, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile at Eilat, which was intercepted by an Arrow 3 exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile, in the Israeli aerial-defense system’s first operational use.

That same day, a drone launched from Syria caused a large explosion at an elementary school in Eilat, injuring one civilian. The IDF struck assets in Syria in response, but did not specify which organization was behind the UAV attack or what targets were hit in Syria.

A week earlier, Israel’s Arrow 2 aerial-defense system for the first time intercepted a surface-to-surface missile fired from the Red Sea area.

Earlier this week, the Houthis hijacked an Israeli-linked ship on the Red Sea. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Sunday that the Houthis hijacked the Galaxy Leader vehicle carrier, calling it a “very grave incident of global consequence.”

“The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship,” the military added.

The Bahaman-flagged Galaxy Leader is registered by a British company partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar.

The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem released a statement confirming the ship was being operated by a Japanese firm and had 25 crew members on board from Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Philippines and Mexico.

The Houthis’ decision to target Israeli commercial vessels in the Red Sea was made in light “of what the Gaza Strip is being exposed to from the brutal Israeli-American aggression,” the rebel group said on Sunday.

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