Red Sea crisis: US shoots down 17 drones and missiles fired by Houthis

Warships and fighter jets involved in defence of commercial shipping

Components of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group transit the Strait of Hormuz. US Navy / Reuters
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The US Navy shot down more than a dozen drones and missiles fired by the Houthis on Tuesday in one of the largest attempted assaults yet on Red Sea shipping.

American forces intercepted “12 one-way attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles and two land attack cruise missiles in the southern Red Sea that were fired by the Houthis over a 10-hour period”, US Central Command (Centcom) said in a statement.

There were no injuries or damage to ships in the surrounding area, Centcom added.

The defensive fire was from the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which was sent to the region to counter a rise in attacks by the Iran-backed Yemeni rebel group following the outbreak of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Houthi military spokesman confirmed the group had launched a missile strike on an MSC United Commercial ship, which was en route from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

The group has claimed its actions are in response to Israel's war against Hamas.

The Houthis have become a growing threat in the Red Sea, a key global trade corridor, since the Israel-Gaza war erupted.

They have ramped up attacks on a number of vessels over the past few months, both on vessels connected to Israel and others with no link at all.

The US and other nations formed a maritime task force last week to respond to the group's attacks in the Red Sea.

Updated: December 27, 2023, 3:36 AM