October 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Navy Shoots Down Missiles and Drones Launched From Yemen

October 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Navy Shoots Down Missiles and Drones Launched From Yemen

Latest Developments

The U.S. Navy shot down a salvo of cruise missiles and drones launched from Yemen in the direction of Israel on October 20, suggesting the Houthis are rallying to Hamas in the Gaza war. The three cruise missiles and several drones were intercepted by the USS Carney in the northern Red Sea, where it was on routine operations. There was no damage, and the ship itself did not appear to be the target, U.S. officials have said. The direction of the projectiles meant they were “potentially toward targets in Israel,” a Pentagon spokesperson said.

Confirming the incident, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, chief spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said in a briefing that it was “a demonstration of the air defense architecture of CENTCOM and the Fifth Fleet specifically run in that area of the Middle East.”

Since coming under CENTCOM’s field of operations in the two years after the signing of the Abraham Accords, Israel has brought its own formidable air defense systems to bear with “joint coordination capabilities, intelligence channel-building and ongoing exchanges of intelligence, and enhance contacts with a view to joint operational activities,” Hagari said.

Expert Analysis

“The U.S. Navy’s ability to shoot down cruise missiles and drones fired at Israel is a teachable moment for Iran. The USS Carney’s interceptions can be replicated by the U.S. Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean should Israel come under attack by Hezbollah.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The Houthis follow orders from Tehran. It’s really that simple. Deterrence has not been restored on any front, with more fronts opening. Iran sees the U.S. keeping money flowing and allowing the UN missile embargo to expire. The era of Iran appeasement must come to an end.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Houthi long-range strike capabilities are a product of their relationship with Tehran, full stop. Every September, the Houthis showcase their latest military tools to include land-attack cruise missiles, precision-strike short-range ballistic missiles, suicide drones, and liquid propellant medium-range ballistic missiles. The Houthis are the only proxy of Tehran that can fire projectiles over 1,000 km.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

U.S. warship intercepts missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthis,” by Bill Roggio

Leader of Yemen’s Houthis states willingness to support ‘Palestinian people,’” by Joe Truzman

Yemen’s Houthis Belong on the Terror List,” by Jonathan Schanzer


Gulf States Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power