US Forces Down Houthi Ballistic Missiles In Red Sea

U.S. forces in the Middle East finally took the fight to Houthi militants on Tuesday, shooting down a total of 17 drones and missiles over the contentious Red Sea.

The counterattack came from a U.S. Navy destroyer and multiple F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters. Over a span of 10 hours, 12 attack drones, three anti-ship missiles and two land attack missiles were destroyed, with none of the launches reaching their targets.

Leading the charge was the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer USS Laboon. It is part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group, and several fighter jets attacked the Houthi projectiles from that naval force.

Details are sparse, but it is believed that the engagement was the result of an attack by Yemeni rebels on the Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned vessel MSC United VIII.

The incident appeared to be the first escalation in Biden’s “Operation Prosperity Guardian.” Despite several overtures to allies in the region, the U.S. may be enforcing international shipping laws on its own.

Meanwhile, the Navy successfully engaged three ballistic missiles from the Iran-supplied arsenal of the Houthi rebels. Military officials said it is the first instance of the Navy downing these weapons against an enemy.

Global shipping is suffering from the frequent attacks, which have struck more than 21 international vessels. As much as 10% of the globe’s oil supply is shipped through the area, and supply chains stand to be disrupted if the threat continues.

Large shipping firms are avoiding the region and diverting their vessels around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. This adds time and expense to deliveries, driving up costs worldwide.

Tuesday’s activity by American armed forces followed a brazen Christmas Day attack on Erbil Air Force Base in Iraq. Three U.S. service members were injured, including one who at last report was in critical condition.

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