Despite two waves of attacks on their installations in recent days, Houthi rebels in Yemen appear undeterred. On Sunday afternoon the group fired an anti-ship cruise missile over the Red Sea in the direction of the US Navy destroyer the USS Laboon, U.S. Central Command announced.
U.S. fighter jets shot down the missile before it could reach the USS Laboon. No one was injured, according to CENTCOM. The missile was shot down at around 4:45 p.m. local time near the city of Hodeida (also known and spelled as Hudaydah), which was one of the locations hit by a series of American and British air strikes Thursday, Jan. 11. After the Houthis fired one more missile on Friday, American missiles hit a radar site in Yemen meant to disrupt the Houthis’ ability to launch drones and missiles at commercial ships and US Navy vessels.
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The Houthis claimed that the attack on the radar site did not significantly damage its infrastructure or degrade the group’s abilities to launch attacks at vessels in the Red Sea. Hodeida is Yemen’s fourth largest city in the territory the Houthi movement controls. Although the U.S. military has released details on the number of targets in the Jan. 11 air strikes, the number of casualties is unknown. The New York Times reported on Saturday, Jan. 13 that despite many of the air strikes successfully reaching their targets, the Houthis retain most of their ability to fire missiles into the waters off of Yemen, citing several U.S. officials. Today’s launch shows that is at least partially true.
The Houthis, which controls approximately a third of the country following a civil war with the internationally recognized government, are intent on disrupting shipping through the Red Sea in response to Israel’s war on Gaza. The group has launched more than two dozen such operations, with several drones and missiles being shot down by American forces. In December, the movement’s leader warned against any military action against the Houthis, threatening to retaliate and spokesmen for the group promised to respond following this past week’s attacks.
The United States military has several warships currently operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Many ships were sent to the Mediterranean Sea in October after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks but many have sailed into the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in recent weeks in light of the attacks by the Houthis.
The USS Laboon, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, has been in the Red Sea for several weeks. It previously responded to attacks on merchant vessels and has shot down several drones in the area.
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