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Houthis Use Mystery ‘Improved Missile’ to Pierce Israel’s Powerful Air Defenses

© AP Photo / Osamah AbdulrahmanHouthi supporters attend a rally against the US airstrikes on Yemen and the Israeli offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza SAtrip, in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 8, 2024.
Houthi supporters attend a rally against the US airstrikes on Yemen and the Israeli offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza SAtrip, in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 8, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.03.2024
The IDF confirmed this week that an enemy cruise missile had slammed down in an open area near the southern Red Sea resort city of Eliat, marking the first time that Israel’s powerful air and missile defenses have been penetrated the Houthis, whose missiles are launched from at least 1,700 km away.
Ansar Allah used a mystery “improved missile” to target Israel on Tuesday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi has said.
“Operations were carried out this week using 18 ballistic and cruise missiles and drones. One of the most important of them, which caused great concern among the enemy, was an operation toward Umm Al-Rashrash [Eliat, ed.] with an improved missile,” al-Houthi said in a speech Thursday night.
“The missile was able to reach Umm al-Rashrash, bypassing all American and Israeli interception techniques,” the militia leader said, noting that the development has “opened a new horizon” for Yemen’s missile program, and warning that Houthi capabilities to bypass American and Israeli surveillance, jamming and interception technologies and means will prompt “more effective strikes on the enemy in the future.”
“A clear and tangible development in our capabilities is taking place, and the enemy first noticed this during our use of ballistic missiles to target ships at sea,” al-Houthi said.
The Yemeni militia leader says Ansar Allah has launched 479 missiles and drones to date in its four month-long campaign against Israel and Israeli-affiliated shipping, and against US and British warships, ramping up its campaign into the Indian Ocean.
This photo provided by the Indian Navy shows U.S.-owned ship Genco Picardy that came under attack Wednesday from a bomb-carrying drone launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.03.2024
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Al-Houthi cited some 407 US and British naval and air strikes against Yemen to date, 31 of them taking place this week. The Houthi leader emphasized that the blockade will continue, and that it has been successful, as evidenced by the lack of freedom of navigation for Israeli, American and British vessels through the Red and Arabian Seas.

Israeli media expressed grave concerns over the Houthis’ missile capabilities, with a resident of Eliat telling Yedioth Ahronoth that locals “live in constant fear due to the lack of warnings, which makes them feel they do not know when a missile will fall on their heads.” Another resident accused the military and the government of downplaying the threat to prevent Houthi missiles from impacting the dwindling tourist flow to the Red Sea resort city.
The IDF confirmed earlier this week that a missile fired from the Red Sea region had penetrated Israel’s air defenses, but did not explicitly identify the Houthis as the perpetrators. The Israeli military has launched a probe to determine why the missile, which had been successfully picked up and tracked, was not intercepted. The errant missile was said to have crashed harmlessly in an open area, with no casualties or damage reported.
A supporter of Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, with an ammunition belt placed on his head attends a celebration of Moulid al-nabi, the birth of Islam's prophet Muhammad in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.03.2024
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The Eliat attack put local IDF forces on high alert, with the military saying Thursday that its air defenses had shot down a “suspicious aerial target” in the Red Sea that was heading toward southern Israel, and the Times of Israel saying Eilat residents heard a large blast after the target was struck.
The Houthis first began targeting Eilat with missiles in November 2023, but the Israeli military previously managed to intercept them using Arrow interceptor missiles and F-35I jets.
Surrounded by hostile state powers and non-state actors, Israel has developed one of the densest and most sophisticated missile systems in the world, with the Arrow - a long range interceptor capable of targeting enemy ballistic missiles in space, complemented by the shorter-range Iron Dome, as well as the David's Sling - a medium to long-range surface-to-air and anti-ballistic missile.
Armed to the teeth by Soviets during the Cold War with an array of ballistic, cruise and air defense missiles including the Scud B and C, the OTR-21 Tochka, the S-75 Dvina, the 2K12 Kub, and the P-21/P-22 Rubezh, the Houthis have managed to develop upgraded variants of these weapons. Their current arsenal includes the Burkan 3 (lit. Volcano 3’) Scud offshoot, with a range of up to 1,200 km, the Toufan (‘Typhoon’) missile family, another Scud upgrade with a range between 1,350 and 1,950 km, and the Fater-1 (‘Innovator-1’) SAM, which has been used to shoot down US Reaper drones.
The United States and its allies have accused Iran and North Korea of providing the Houthis with advanced military hardware and blueprints, but the Islamic Republic has indicated that its sympathies for the militia do not extend to the sale or transfer of arms or weaponry systems, in line with Tehran’s desire to see a resolution to the decade-old Yemeni civil war.
Houthi naval missiles on parade in Sanaa, September 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2024
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