US shoots down Houthi drone and missile in Red Sea

No damage or injuries reported by US Central Command amid maritime mission to protect shipping from rebels

Guided missile destroyer USS Mason, pictured in 2008, which thwarted the attack by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. AFP
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The US military said it shot down a drone and missile reportedly fired by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday.

Guided missile destroyer the USS Mason downed a drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile in the Southern Red Sea, said US Central Command.

“There was no damage to any of the 18 ships in the area or any reported injuries,” Centcom said.

“This is the 22nd attempted attack by Houthis on international shipping” since October 19, it added.

The Pentagon last week launched Operation Prosperity Guardian, which formed a new international mission to counter Houthi threats on ships in the Red Sea, after a string of attacks on commercial vessels.

Houthi rebels said they would block Israeli ships from travelling through the Red Sea after Israel's siege on Gaza.

However, many attacks have included non-Israeli ships. Shipping companies were redirecting travel as a result.

The waterway and the Gulf of Aden is economically vital as 10 per cent of annual global trade moves through the Red Sea.

The US has already shot down at least 17 drones and missiles fired by Houthis since the beginning of the mission.

Also on Thursday, the US issued sanctions aimed at an individual and exchange houses allegedly involved in Iranian financing of the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 5:54 AM