Published2 days ago
The US military says it has shot down a missile fired towards one of its warships from a Houthi area of Yemen.
The anti-ship cruise missile – fired towards the USS Laboon in the Red Sea – was downed off the coast of Hudaydah by a US fighter aircraft.
No injuries or damage were reported in the incident on Sunday afternoon.
It comes after the US and UK launched strikes aimed at degrading the military capability of the Houthis, who have been attacking Red Sea cargo ships.
The US and UK hit nearly 30 locations in Yemen on Friday, reportedly including arms depots, logistical hubs and air defence systems.
The US followed up on Saturday with another strike on a Houthi radar site.
President Joe Biden has said he would not “hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary”.
Similarly, the UK says it is prepared to launch further action against the Houthis.
Prominent Houthi supporter Hussain Al-Bukhaiti told the BBC on Sunday that fighters would target US and UK battleships if strikes on Yemen continued.
The Houthis are a political and military group in control of a large part of Yemen, including the capital. They are key allies of Hamas and are thought to receive weapons from Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy.
Since 19 November, they have carried out at least 27 attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, a major route for global maritime trade.
The group has said it was targeting vessels heading to, or owned by, Israel, as an act of solidarity with the people of Gaza. However, some of the ships they have hit have no clear connection to Israel.
The attacks have led major shipping companies to divert vessels away from the Red Sea, instead taking a longer route around southern Africa.
This has already had an impact on the global economy – with shipping giant Maersk telling the BBC it was being felt “down to the end consumer”.
Tesla and Volvo Cars have suspended some of their car production, UK grocery giant Tesco has warned some prices may go up and Ikea has said supplies could be affected.
The Houthi attacks have been “causing major disruption to a vital trade route and driving up commodity prices”, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said.
The attacks by the group, along with the UK-US strikes in Yemen, have added to fears that the war in Gaza is already spreading to the wider Middle East.
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