U.S. Intercepts Missile Launched Toward U.S. Navy Ship in the Red Sea

January 15, 2024

On Jan. 14 at approximately 4:45 p.m. (Sanaa time), an anti-ship cruise missile was fired from Iranian-backed Houthi militant areas of Yemen toward USS Laboon (DDG 58), which was operating in the Southern Red Sea. The missile was shot down … by U.S. fighter aircraft.

The United States Central Command in a statement via X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sunday, adding, “There were no injuries or damage reported.”

Big Picture: The targeting of a U.S. Navy ship by the Iranian-backed Houthis marks one of the first incidents since the U.S. and others launched retaliatory strikes against Houthi sites in Yemen, aiming to “degrade” their “capability to continue their illegal and reckless attacks on U.S. and international vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea.” Since the October 7th terrorist attack by Hamas (a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization backed by Iran) in Israel, the Houthis (a group waging a long-running civil war in Yemen and a former U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization) have launched dozens of drone and missile attacks against ships in the Red Sea.

The Red Sea is an important commercial waterway where about 12% of global trade flows through; the Houthis say “their action will only stop if Israel ends its military campaign in Gaza,” The Wall Street Journal explains.

Important Context: The Council on Foreign Relations explains that since November, 150+ commercial ships have decided to avoid transiting the Red Sea, instead sailing “around the Horn of Africa, which can cost $1 million more round trip in additional fuel costs.” Along with impacting international shipping and disrupting global trade, the Houthis’ continuing attacks have increased concerns of conflict expanding in the region amid the more than three-month-long Israel-Hamas war.

Read More: U.S. Intercepts Cruise Missile Attack on Its Warship in Red Sea (The Wall Street Journal)

Houthis Fire Anti-Ship Missile at USS Laboon (U.S. Naval Institute News)

What to know about Yemen’s Houthi rebels and the Red Sea conflict (Axios)

How Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea Threaten Global Shipping (Council on Foreign Relations)

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas