U.S. and U.K. shoot down huge Houthi attack in Red Sea

U.S. Central Command confirmed tonight that U.S. forces, with the help of a British destroyer, shot down 21 munitions fired by Iran-backed Houthi militants based in Yemen.

Central Command said the attack, one of the largest since the Houthis began targeting international containerships in response to Israel’s incursions into Gaza in the fall, led to the launching and firing of 18 weaponized drones, two anti-ship cruise missiles and an anti-ship ballistic missile toward shipping lanes where dozens of merchant ships were at sea.

It wasn’t clear whether there was a target more specific than merchant ships using the waterway, which is crucial to global trade. No injuries or damaged vessels were reported.

Central Command credited a “combined effort” that included F/A-18s from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, as well as contributions from the U.S. and Royal Navy destroyers USS Gravely, USS Laboon, USS Mason and HMS Diamond. 

It was the 27th attack by Houthis on the trade route since Nov. 19, according to NBC News’ accounts. Two U.S. defense officials said the U.S. has prepared a plan with options for how it should respond.

The Houthis are one of a number of Iran-backed militant groups in the region that threaten to expand Israel’s war with Hamas militants into a broader Middle East fight that would pit forces backed by Iran against Israel and its U.S. support.

U.S. diplomats have said they don’t want to see the scenario play out.

Multiple Israeli military operations fuel anger among Palestinians in small West Bank city

TULKAREM, occupied West Bank — On the outskirts of Tulkarem, a small Palestinian city in the northwest of the West Bank, hundreds took to the streets Tuesday.

Local leaders, residents, and members of the area’s militant groups marched in a funeral procession for three young men, shot dead Monday in a night-time raid carried out by the Israeli security forces. Masked militants fired semi-automatic weapons into the air as others carried the bodies of the dead to a nearby cemetery. 

Hundreds gathered in Tulkarem, West Bank, in a funeral procession for three young men who were fatally shot in a night-time raid carried out by the Israeli security services.
Nicolas Hameon / NBC News

Tulkarem has long been home to large contingent of Palestinian hardliners, and the last several months have seen militant groups there only growing in popularity. Since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, there’s been an uptick of Israeli military activity in and around Tulkarem; the Israeli forces have carried out at least seven major operations in the area, according to local Palestinian officials. 

The Nur Shams Refugee Camp in Tulkarem, a poor neighborhood outside the city center, has been the focus of much of Israel’s recent military activity in the area — where many residents have been detained, killed or have had homes damaged.

Children inside the Nur Shams Refugee Camp in Tulkarem, a neighborhood outside the city center, in the West Bank.
Nicolas Hameon / NBC News

“The people are angry — for losing their children, for losing their homes,” Suleiman al-Zuhairi, a Nur Shams official, told NBC News. “The camp is a very hard place to live in and what we see from the Israeli action is that they are trying to create an enemy in every house. …Nobody knows why all the people have to be punished.”

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