U.S. Shoots Down Two Houthi Ballistic Missiles Fired Toward U.S. Navy Ships in Red Sea

Houthis in Yemen are accused of firing two ballistic missiles at two U.S. warships in the Red Sea. U.S. Central Command revealed this information on Saturday. This attack occurred while the U.S. warships were providing assistance to a merchant ship hit by another Houthi missile. The USS Gravely managed to intercept and destroy the incoming ballistic missiles. Despite the attack, there are no reports of any retaliatory action from the U.S. ships.

The Biden administration recently announced a coalition known as Operation Prosperity Guardian with the aim of protecting shipping in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks. However, issues seem to be emerging within the coalition. According to a report by Reuters, European allies such as Italy and Spain released statements indicating a degree of distancing from their contributions to the maritime force. The Pentagon claims that the operation is a defensive coalition comprising more than 20 nations, ensuring the smooth flow of commerce through the Red Sea, a critical shipping route near Yemen. Nevertheless, nearly half of those countries have not acknowledged their contributions or allowed the U.S. to do so. These contributions range from dispatching warships to simply sending a staff officer.

The significance of the Red Sea as an entry point for ships using the Suez Canal cannot be overstated. With the Suez Canal handling approximately 12% of worldwide trade, the safety of this vital route is crucial for the movement of goods between Asia and Europe. The impact of Houthi attacks has caused some ships to be rerouted around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, leading to increased sailing time and costs.

The U.S. Central Command has released a statement confirming the attack on the USS Gravely. The incident occurred at around 8:30 p.m. local time in Sanaa, Yemen, when the container ship Maersk Hangzhou reported being struck by a missile while transiting the Southern Red Sea. Both the USS Gravely and USS Laboon responded to the distress call, and the container ship is reported to be seaworthy with no injuries. The statement notes that the USS Gravely successfully intercepted two anti-ship ballistic missiles launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, marking the 23rd attack on international shipping by the Houthis since November 19.

Despite the repeated attacks on ships in the Red Sea over the past three months, the Biden administration has not taken any military action against the Houthi forces. The situation emphasizes the challenges faced by the newly formed coalition, Operation Prosperity Guardian, in its efforts to safeguard shipping in the Red Sea. The need for a unified and effective response to these attacks remains a pressing concern for the international community.

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