Tel Aviv: Israel may retaliate with a variety of weapon systems if Iran and its proxies in the Gulf region join the war. On October 19 the USS Carney, a US Navy destroyer in the northern Red Sea, intercepted three ground assault cruise missiles and a number of drones that were launched by Houthi forces in Yemen, one of Iran’s main armed proxies.
According to Brig Gen Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, they were shot down over the ocean.
In a Pentagon briefing, Ryder stated, “We cannot say with certainty what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel.”
The missiles were shot down because they “posed a potential threat” based on their flight profile, and the US is ready to take whatever action is necessary “to protect our partners and our interests in this important region,” he said.
In August, the Houthi rebels in Yemen threatened to attack the US navy force that was recently sent to the Red sea.
On August 7, 2023, the American 5th Fleet announced that more than 3,000 US Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) had arrived in the Middle East on August 6, and had also moved into the Red Sea.
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMERI), following the American announcement, senior Houthi Ansar Allah movement officials stated that the US military presence in the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait was a provocation and demanded that the American forces distance themselves from Yemen’s territorial waters.
They warned that the Houthi navy possesses capabilities and “surprises” that will deter the enemy, and threatened that any encroachment into Yemen’s territorial waters by the American forces would lead to the start of “the longest and most expensive war in human history.”
According to the website, on August 7, 2023, the Houthi Ansar Allah movement’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Al-Ezzi, addressed the American forces in the area in a tweet, and warned them to stay away from Yemen’s territorial waters, saying that approaching them would mark the beginning of the “longest and most expensive war in human history.” The Houthi website stated that such encroachment constituted “direct escalation against Yemen.”
On August 9, 2023, in an interview with the Al-Masirah TV channel, which belongs to the Yemeni Houthi movement, Al-Ezzi said that the arrival of American combat forces in the region at this sensitive time did not advance peace or security in the Red Sea. He also maintained that navigation in the Red Sea should be protected and military provocations should be opposed, adding: “We are at war with America, and it is important that nobody makes any miscalculations. We have warned them.”
The Houthi rebels control several provinces in Yemen and have also controlled the capital Sanaa since 2014. Starting in 2015, a Saudi-led military coalition has been working to help Yemen’s legitimate government against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia is the country most affected by the Houthi rebels. In September 2019, there was a sizeable attack on Saudi Arabia with precision missiles and drones, for which the Houthis claimed credit.