US warship in Red Sea intercepts 3 missiles fired from Yemen, possibly at Israel

Land attack cruise missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels were headed ‘potentially toward targets in Israel,’ Pentagon says

FILE - The US Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) operates in the Mediterranean Sea, July 1, 2017. (US Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Xavier Jimenez/Released)
FILE - The US Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) operates in the Mediterranean Sea, July 1, 2017. (US Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Xavier Jimenez/Released)

WASHINGTON — A US Navy warship intercepted three missiles Thursday that had been fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, were heading north, and may have been aimed at Israel, the Pentagon said.

US officials said the USS Carney, a Navy destroyer, was in the Red Sea and intercepted the three missiles.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters three land attack cruise missiles and several drones were launched by Houthi forces in Yemen. He said they were shot down over the water.

“We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially toward targets in Israel,” Ryder said in a Pentagon briefing.

Ryder said the missiles were shot down because they “posed a potential threat” based on their flight profile, adding that the US is prepared to do whatever is needed “to protect our partners and our interests in this important region.” He said the US was still assessing what the target was.

Israel’s Channel 13 news cited anonymous Israeli assessments that Israel was the target.

Unnamed Israeli officials told Army Radio and the Walla news site that the missiles were fired in the direction of the Jewish state.

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.”

Iran has warned repeatedly that Israel could face wider threats if it does not halt its war against Gazan terrorists, launched after Hamas’s October 7 terrorist rampage through southern Israel, in which 1,400 Israelis were killed.

Houthi Shiite fighters wearing army uniforms ride on a pickup truck as they guard a street during a demonstration in Sanaa, Yemen, January 23, 2015. Their sign reads ‘death to Israel, cursed be the Jews’ (AP/Hani Mohammed)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Tuesday that “if the crimes of the Zionist regime continue, Muslims and resistance forces will become impatient, and no one can stop them.”

In a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said Monday that time was running out to reach a political solution to the Israel-Hamas conflict, warning of the “possibility of expanding the scope of war and conflict to other fronts.”

Last week, in Yemen’s Sanaa, which is held by the Houthi rebels still at war with a Saudi-led coalition, demonstrators crowded the streets waving Yemeni and Palestinian flags. The rebels’ slogan has long been, “God is the greatest; death to America; death to Israel; curse of the Jews; victory to Islam.”

Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the rebel group’s leader, warned the United States against intervening in the armed conflict in Gaza, threatening that his forces would retaliate by firing drones and missiles.

Israel has carried out a campaign of intense airstrikes since October 7, when some 2,500 terrorists blasted through the Israeli border fence, streamed into Israel via land, sea and air under a barrage of thousands of rockets, and killed some 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians. Terrorists also took at least 203 hostages of all ages and various nationalities into Gaza.

Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists, in what US President Joe Biden has highlighted as “the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

Israel says its offensive is aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip.

Gaza health officials say around 3,700 people have been killed in Israeli bombings.

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