June 4, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Intercepts Houthi Ballistic Missile Targeting Eilat

June 4, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Intercepts Houthi Ballistic Missile Targeting Eilat

Latest Developments

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that it had intercepted a surface-to-surface ballistic missile targeting the southern city of Eilat on June 3. Israel’s long-range Arrow Missile Defense System downed the missile, which the IDF said was launched from the direction of the Red Sea. The missile was likely fired by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who, according to the IDF, have attacked Israel multiple times using drones and missiles since the October 7 massacre in Israel carried out by its Hamas allies in Gaza.

In addition to attacks on Israel, the Houthis have also targeted commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Expert Analysis

“The Houthis’ attack on Israel is only the latest reminder that Israel is surrounded by enemies on all fronts and needs American support. Israel’s Arrow system — which intercepted the threat — should also remind Americans of the value collaboration with Israel brings to the United States. Israel is not only on the front line against those who chant ‘death to America,’ it is also a strong partner with the United States on cutting-edge defense innovations that contribute to the defense of our own servicemembers and interests.” Mike Daum, FDD Research Analyst

“This incident does not mark the first time that the Houthis have targeted Eilat with missiles or drones. Rather, it represents a continued escalation orchestrated by Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen who have increased their attacks on Israel this month. Furthermore, American and British airstrikes have not deterred the Houthis, as the Yemeni group persists in targeting American and commercial vessels in the Red Sea.” Ahmad Sharawi, FDD Research Analyst

Houthis Make Multiple Attempts to Strike Israeli Soil

Israel has successfully intercepted multiple attacks since the first Houthi-orchestrated attack on Israel on October 31. Both Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems, which are designed to intercept ballistic missiles as well as fighter jets, and the “C-Dome” system — referred to as the naval Iron Dome — have been used to intercept Houthi aerial threats.  On March 17, a Houthi-launched cruise missile impacted an open area north of Eilat, marking the first time the terrorist organization struck inside Israeli territory. The Israeli Air Force confirmed that it had monitored the missile until impact, noting that no damage or injuries resulted.

Houthis Attack Commercial and Naval Vessels

Since November 19, the Houthis have targeted more than 100 ships in the region using aerial and maritime drones as well as an assortment of missiles. The attacks have forced many commercial shipping companies to reroute their vessels around southern Africa —adding substantial time and cost to the journey. The Houthis have also attacked American, British, and French naval vessels operating in the area to protect shipping. On June 2, the Houthis claimed to have carried out six attacks against ships in the Red Sea, including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and another American destroyer in the area. U.S. Central Command did not confirm the claims but said in a statement on June 2 that its forces shot down multiple Houthi drones in self-defense.

10 Things to Know About the Houthis,” FDD Insight

Houthis attack four ships and threaten to expand operations against U.S. forces,” by Ahmad Sharawi

Houthi Missile Strikes Israeli Soil for First Time,” FDD Flash Brief

Arrow 3 Intercepts Houthi Missile over Red Sea,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

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