Apparent Houthi ballistic missile fired at Eilat downed by Arrow system — IDF

Surface-to-surface projectile from ‘direction of Red Sea’ downed by long-range interceptor; no injuries

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

An Israeli Navy ship is seen off the coast of the southernmost city of Eilat, on April 17, 2024. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
An Israeli Navy ship is seen off the coast of the southernmost city of Eilat, on April 17, 2024. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel’s long-range Arrow air defense system shot down a ballistic missile, apparently fired by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, over the Red Sea on Monday morning, the military said.

Footage from Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat showed smoke trails in the sky from the aftermath of the interception.

The Israel Defense Forces said the surface-to-surface missile, fired “from the direction of the Red Sea,” was headed toward Israel, likely aimed for Eilat, when it was shot down using the advanced Arrow system.

Sirens had sounded in Eilat warning of incoming missiles amid the incident.

The IDF has described past attacks from Yemen as “from the Red Sea direction.”

The Iran-backed group did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack on Monday.

There were no reports of injuries.

Yemen’s Houthis have fired several ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones at Eilat, in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, where Israel is battling Hamas terrorists. The vast majority of the Iran-backed group’s projectiles have been intercepted by Israeli air defenses or missed their target. Only one Houthi projectile, a cruise missile, struck Israel, hitting an open area near Eilat.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014 and control large swaths of the country, are “part of the axis of resistance” against Israel along with Hamas — which is also sponsored by Tehran.

Houthi rebels have expressed support for the Palestinians and threatened Israel amid the Israel-Hamas war. The Iranian-backed group’s slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.”

In the Red Sea, the Houthis have fired on commercial and military ships dozens of times since November.

Yemeni demonstrators carry a mock missile during a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel rally in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on April 26, 2024. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

The Houthis say they are targeting ships over Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. But they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Other Iran-backed groups, in Iraq and Syria, have also claimed to have launched dozens of drones and cruise missiles at Israel during the ongoing war sparked by Hamas’s devastating October 7 terror onslaught, while Lebanon’s Hezbollah has attacked communities and IDF positions in northern Israel on a near-daily basis.

Iran itself also carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel in April with hundreds of drones and missiles.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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