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US shoots down Houthi terrorists’ anti-ship missiles

A Houthi-bound cache of Iranian weapons on the deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) after seized from a stateless dhow on March 28, 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo/Released)
January 25, 2024

A U.S. Central Command press release issued on January 24 confirmed that the USS Gravely successfully shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in the Gulf of Aiden. A third missile landed in the sea. The missiles were reportedly aimed at container ships Maersk Detroit and Maersk Chesapeake. No injuries were reported to have occurred due to the incident. 

This press release follows a release issued just one day prior, noting that two Houthi anti-ship missiles had been detected aimed at the Southern Red Sea and ready to launch in Yemen. The missiles were destroyed by U.S. forces in a preemptive strike to protect military and merchant vessels navigating the waters. 

These strikes are part of an ongoing battle in the Red Sea, as Houthi terrorists began targeting merchant ships in November of last year. The two Maersk cargo ships, reportedly bearing American flags, were carrying goods owned by the U.S. State Department as well as the U.S. Department of Defense. Due to the cargo carried, the ships were afforded military protection for travel. 

In a statement to The Associated Press, Maersk confirmed that the U.S. Navy had intercepted an attack on two of its ships, which are now being provided with safe escort across the Red Sea by the U.S. Navy.

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“While en route, both ships reported seeing explosions close by and the U.S. Navy accompaniment also intercepted multiple projectiles,” Maersk said. “The crew, ship, and cargo are safe and unharmed. The U.S. Navy has turned both ships around and is escorting them back to the Gulf of Aden.”

Maersk noted that transit in the region would be suspended for an unspecified timeframe following the attack. 

Houthi forces have established a large presence in much of Yemen, launching strikes on ships in the Red Sea as a show of solidarity with Palestine. These attacks on the Red Sea have affected global shipping, particularly in Asia and Europe. An estimated 12 percent of all global shipping relies on routes through the Red Sea to transport goods.

As conflict in the area intensifies, many major shipping companies are choosing a longer alternate route through the coast of Africa. These alternate shipping routes are substantially increasing both shipping time and expense. 

The U.S. initiated strikes against Houthi targets in January, shortly following this action with a formal designation of Houthi forces as a global terrorist group.  

The Pentagon states that the U.S. military and allies have destroyed or degraded more than 25 missile launch facilities, 20 missiles, drones, coastal radars, and weapons storage facilities since January 11.