Sunday 31 December 2023

U.S. Shoots Down Two Houthi Ballistic Missiles Fired “Toward” U.S. Navy Ships in Red Sea

 U.S. Central Command announced Saturday that Houthis in Yemen fired two ballistic missiles “toward” two U.S. warships in the Red Sea while they aiding a merchant ship that had been previously struck by a Houthi missile. One of the U.S. ships, the USS Gravely, shot down the two ballistic missiles. There was no report that the ships retaliated.

The Biden administration recently announced a new coalition to protect shipping in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks called Operation Prosperity Guardian, however the coalition is having issues, Reuters reported this week (excerpt):

Two of America’s European allies who were listed as contributors to Operation Prosperity Guardian — Italy and Spain — issued statements appearing to distance themselves from the maritime force.

The Pentagon says the force is a defensive coalition of more than 20 nations to ensure billions of dollars’ worth of commerce can flow freely through a vital shipping chokepoint in Red Sea waters off Yemen.

But nearly half of those countries have so far not come forward to acknowledge their contributions or allowed the US to do so. Those contributions can range from dispatching warships to merely sending a staff officer.

…The Red Sea is the entry point for ships using the Suez Canal, which handles about 12 percent of worldwide trade and is vital for the movement of goods between Asia and Europe. Houthi attacks have seen some ships rerouted around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, substantially increasing sailing time and costs.

Photos of the ships involved in the attack:


CENTCOM statement:

USS GRAVELY shoots down two anti-ship ballistic missiles while responding to Houthi attack on merchant vessel.

Today at approximately 8:30 p.m. (Sanaa time), the container ship MAERSK HANGZHOU reported that they were struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea. The Singapore-flagged, Denmark-owned/operated container ship requested assistance, and the USS GRAVELY (DDG 107) and USS LABOON (DDG 58) have responded to the ship. The vessel is reportedly seaworthy and there are no reported injuries.

While responding, the USS GRAVELY shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the ships.

This is the 23rd illegal attack by the Houthis on international shipping since Nov. 19.

So far the Biden administration has not attacked any Houthi base for firing on ships in the Red Sea over the past three months.

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