The IDF also downed a drone that set off sirens in Eilat and was claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
JNS Staff Report
October 31, 2023
The Arrow air defense system intercepted a surface-to-surface missile launched from the “Red Sea area” at Israel, the military said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that Air Force systems tracked the missile’s trajectory, and intercepted it “at the most appropriate operational time and location.”
The missile is believed to have been launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, aimed for the southernmost city of Eilat.
It marks the first operational use of the long-range Arrow defense system in the current war, the army said.
The IDF added that Tuesday morning, fighter jets downed other “hostile targets” — believed to be drones — that were flying in the Red Sea area.
“All the threats were intercepted outside the territory of the State of Israel. No intrusion into Israeli territory was detected,” the IDF added.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attempted drone attack on southern Israel on Tuesday morning that set off air-raid sirens in Eilat.
“These drones belong to the state of Yemen,” Abdelaziz bin Habtour, prime minister of the Houthi government, told AFP, adding that that attack was in retaliation for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
Some 30 minutes after sirens sounded in Eilat, the Israel Defense Forces released an update stating that an “aerial target” had been identified “approaching Israeli territory,” adding that “there was no threat or risk to civilians.”
The IDF initially did not confirm reports that a drone had been intercepted, or state from which direction the target had approached.
However, Houthi rebels in Yemen appeared to threaten the Israeli city on Friday night, with senior Houthi leader Hizam al-Asad tweeting the single word “Eilat” in Arabic.
Earlier on Friday, the IDF said that a fighter jet had intercepted an “aerial threat” over the Red Sea, which came hours after a drone attack on the Egyptian resort town of Taba in the Sinai Peninsula that wounded six people.
Taba is located along the border with Israel, some six miles from Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.
Two Egyptian security sources told Reuters that a projectile also fell in the Red Sea town of Nuweiba.
Last week, the USS Carney, a U.S. Navy destroyer, shot down missiles and drones from Yemen that could have been aimed at Israel, the Pentagon said.
“The crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney, operating in the northern Red Sea earlier today, shot down three land-attack cruise missiles and several drones that were launched by Houthi forces in Yemen,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Defense Department spokesman.
“They were launched from Yemen, heading north along the Red Sea, potentially toward targets in Israel,” he added.