The United States military said on Tuesday night that its forces had intercepted 12 attack drones and five missiles in the southern Red Sea launched by Houthi terrorists in Yemen.
Two hours earlier, the Israeli military announced that an Israeli Air Force fighter jet had shot down a “hostile aerial target that was on its way to Israeli territory,” adding that the “air control unit tracked the target throughout the incident.”
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) tweeted that the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group struck the drones and missiles, which included three anti-ship ballistic missiles and two cruise missiles.
The drones and missiles 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,” CENTCOM said.
The Iranian terrorist proxy in Yemen has undertaken an offensive against maritime trade in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait since mid-November, engaging in numerous anti-ship drone and missile attacks and acts of piracy against commercial and military vessels.
Since declaring their support for the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza in its war against Israel sparked by the Oct. 7 massacre in the northwestern Negev, the Houthis have also launched regular long-range missile and drone attacks on Israel.
Major shipping companies have responded to the threat by rerouting vessels from the Suez Canal-Red Sea-Bab el-Mandeb route to the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa, a much longer journey.
Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, will resume operations in the Red Sea despite Houthi threats, the Danish company announced on Sunday.
“As of Sunday 24 December 2023, we have received confirmation that the previously announced multi-national security initiative Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG) has now been set up and deployed to allow maritime commerce to pass through the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden and once again return to using the Suez Canal as a gateway between Asia and Europe. This is most welcome news for the entire industry and indeed the functionality of global trade,” the company said in a statement.
“With the OPG initiative in operation, we are preparing to allow for vessels to resume transit through the Red Sea both eastbound and westbound. We are currently working on plans for the first vessels to make the transit and for this to happen as soon as operationally possible,” the statement added.
“Operation Prosperity Guardian” is a U.S.-led multinational coalition of naval forces protecting shipping in the Red Sea.
“We know that Iran was deeply involved in planning the operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This is consistent with Iran’s long-term materiel support and encouragement of the Houthis’ destabilizing actions in the region,” White House national security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.