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Fighter Shoots Down a Missile Targeted at a U.S. Navy Destroyer

Crew of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower launches an F/A-18E fighter off Yemen, January 2024 (U.S. Navy file iamge)
Crewmembers aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower launch an F/A-18E fighter off Yemen, January 2024 (U.S. Navy file iamge)

Published Jan 14, 2024 11:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday, Houthi rebels unsuccessfully targeted the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Laboon with an anti-ship cruise missile, according to U.S. Central Command.

Since November, Houthi forces have repeatedly targeted American warships and international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The U.S. Navy and Royal Navy have shot down dozens of drones and missiles in order to protect merchant vessels on the strategic shipping route, and no injuries or major casualties have yet been reported. 

Fighters have come to play an important role in the Red Sea air defense mission as well. According to Central Command, the missile that targeted USS Laboon was shot down by an American fighter jet off the coast of Hodeidah, a Houthi-held port city on the Red Sea. CENTCOM did not specify the plane's unit, but the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is stationed in the Gulf of Aden and has contributed to the maritime security mission. 

The U.S. and its coalition partners carried out strikes on Houthi positions on Friday and Saturday, and additional bombardments were reported by the Israeli press on Sunday. An unconfirmed report in the Jerusalem Post suggested that American (or possibly Israeli) warplanes hit Hodeidah again Sunday. 

The counterstrike campaign amounts to a "blatant violation of national sovereignty," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam asserted in a social media statement Sunday. He pledged that Houthi militants would continue to attack ships "heading to the ports of occupied Palestine" until the Israeli operation in Gaza stops. 

In a statement Saturday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg warned that the security situation in the region was "precarious," and he called on all parties to "exercise maximum restraint and to prioritize diplomatic channels over military options."