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Israel shoots down Houthi missile headed for Eilat

Interception of a missile heading toward Eilat, February 22, 2024. (Photo: Screnshot/X)

The Iranian-backed Houthi terror militia fired a ballistic missile toward the city of Eilat on Thursday. The missile was neutralized by the IDF's Arrow missile defense system.

The Israeli military stated that it “successfully intercepted a launch which was identified in the area of the Red Sea and was en route to Israel."

“The target did not cross into Israeli territory and did not pose a threat to civilians,” according to the IDF statement.

In December, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) shot down a “hostile aerial target” over the Red Sea that was heading towards Eilat. Israel Defense Forces eventually reported that it had been a drone launched from Yemen, by the Houthi terror group.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari condemned the Houthi aggression as an act of terrorism. He also stressed, at the time, that the Houthi militia acted on orders received from the regime in Tehran.

“This is an act that is carried out under Iranian directives,” Hagari stated.

The radical Houthi terror group has had minimal impact on the ongoing Hamas war due to the considerable geographic distance between Yemen and Israel.

Following the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 Israelis by Hamas, and Israel’s subsequent military response, the Houthis dramatically increased their terror attacks against international shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

In December, the Houthis attacked the Norwegian commercial ship STRINDA with an anti-ship cruise missile, in the strategically crucial Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced at the time: “The [motor tanker] STRINDA reported damage causing a fire on-board, but no casualties at this time,” stressing that, “there were no U.S. ships in the vicinity at the time of the attack, but the USS MASON responded to the STRINDA’s mayday call and is currently rendering assistance”.

Following repeated Houthi attacks, the United States and its allies formed an international alliance, Operation Prosperity Guardian, designed to confront the growing terror threat against international shipping in the Red Sea, a crucial transportation lane of Asian products to the large European consumer market.

In early January, the U.S. Navy intercepted three boats carrying Houthi terrorist operatives who had attacked the Danish Singapore-flagged Maersk Hangzhou container ship in the Red Sea, effectively neutralizing the threat.

“The US Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area. There was no damage to US personnel or equipment,” the U.S. military reported.

The U.S. military eventually shifted to a more offensive approach toward the Houthis. In January, the U.S. and British militaries targeted multiple Houthi positions across Yemen.

The U.S. stressed that the aim was to “degrade their capability to continue their illegal and reckless attacks on U.S. and international vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea”.

U.S. President Joe Biden has sent a clear message that his country will continue to act against such terrorism:

“These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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