U.S. warship intercepts missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthis

A U.S. warship intercepted three missiles over the Red Sea that were fired from Yemen by the Iran-Backed Houthis today. The Houthis have threatened to attack both the U.S. and Israel as the latter retaliates against Hamas for its deadly attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The USS Carney, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer that is patrolling the Red Sea, intercepted three missiles fired from Yemen, Pentagon Spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said.

“They were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel,” Ryder stated. The missiles were not fired at the USS Carney, but at Israel, Ryder concluded.

The U.S. military has intercepted missiles fired by the Houthis in the recent past. In January 2022, the Houthis fired several missiles at the United Arab Emirates. The missles were intercepted over Abu Dhabi by U.S. Patriot missile batteries. More than 2,000 U.S. troops are stationed at the Al-Dhafra Air Base.

The Houthis have threatened to attack Israel and the U.S.

Just days after Hamas’ assault on Israel, the Houthis threatened to target both Israel and the U.S. Abdul Malik al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement, which controls large swathes of the country, said Hamas attack “is a Palestinian decision that has full legitimacy, and the enemy and its allies were surprised by it.” 

“The Yemeni people are thus ready to do everything they can to perform the sacred duty of standing with the Palestinian people,” al-Houthi continued “Our people are ready to move in the hundreds of thousands to join the Palestinian people and confront the enemy.” 

Al-Houthi also said that he is maintaining a “red-line” for this conflict. One such “red line” would be “if the Americans intervene directly and militarily, then we are ready to participate even with missiles and drones.”

Iran supports a number of Shia militias in the region, including the Houthis, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and a host of Iraqi and Syrian militias such as Asaib Ahl al Haq, Hezbollah Brigades, the Badr Brigades, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Harakat al Nujaba, and others. The Iraqi and Syrian Militias number in the hundreds of thousands and can serve as a strategic reserve as the war on Israel’s northern border heats up. These militias are battle-hardened by years of fighting the U.S. in Iraq as well as against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi and Syrian militias have targeted U.S. bases in both countries over the past several days, primarily with drone strikes. Today, the U.S. base at al-Tanf was targeted in what appears to be a complex drone attack. Several U.S. troops are reported to have been wounded.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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