Israeli Arrow-2 missile intercepts Houthi’s ballistic missile and drones fired at Tel Aviv

Houthi rebels in Yemen said they fired drones and ballistic missiles against Israel. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) (AP)

The Israel military said it thwarted an aerial threat in the area of the Red Sea — an attack that the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen claimed credit for.

In a statement aired on the Houthi-owned Al-Masirah TV, Brigadier-General Yahya Saree, a spokesperson for Houthi forces, announced the launch of ballistic missiles and drones by Yemeni Armed Forces against targets in Israel.

“Our armed forces launched a large batch of ballistic and winged missiles and a large number of drones at various targets of the Israeli enemy,” the spokesperson said, referring to all of Israel as “occupied territories.”

Saree said it is the third operation in support of the Palestinian people, with plans for more strikes until the “Israeli aggression” ceases.

The Houthis are an Iran-backed Shia political and military organisation in Yemen that have been fighting a civil war in the country against a coalition backed by Saudi Arabia.

The Israel Defence Forces said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that it had used its Arrow aerial defence system for the first time to successfully intercept a surface-to-surface missile that was fired from the area of the Red Sea.

The use of the Arrow defence system, which is designed to intercept high-altitude missiles, indicates the Houthis used a more advanced, long-range missile in its attempted attack.

Israeli jets also intercepted what the IDF described as “aerial threats” that flew in the area. The IDF said all threats were intercepted outside of Israeli territory by the Arrow-2 interceptor.

The attempted strikes on Israel mark an escalation by the Iran-backed Houthis, as fears intensify that the Israel-Hamas war will lead to a wider conflict in the region.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday an “expansion of conflicts in the region” was happening and that resistance group members would “not remain silent against America’s full support” of Israel and “will not wait for anyone’s advice.”

“We need to use the last political opportunities to stop the war and if the situation gets out of control, no side will be safe from its consequences,” he said, according to a readout from the Iranian foreign affairs ministry.

On October 19, a US warship near the coast of Yemen shot down four cruise missiles and 15 drones over a period of nine hours as they were heading north along the Red Sea, according to a US official familiar with the situation.

Their trajectory left little doubt that the projectiles were headed for Israel, the official said.

Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the missiles were fired by Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen and were launched “potentially towards targets in Israel.” US interceptions of Houthi launches are exceedingly rare.

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