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Yemen's Houthi Rebels Unveil Solid-Fuel 'Palestine' Missile That Resembles Iranian Hypersonic
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By Associated Press
Published 6 days ago on
June 6, 2024

Yemen's Houthi rebels reveal a new solid-fuel missile, raising concerns over the speed and maneuverability of such weapons. (AP/Ansar Allah Media Office)

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Yemen’s Houthi rebels have unveiled a new, solid-fuel missile in their arsenal that resembles aspects of one earlier displayed by Iran that Tehran described as flying at hypersonic speeds.

The rebels fired its new “Palestine” missile, complete with a warhead painted like a Palestinian keffiyeh checkered scarf, at the southern Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat in Israel on Monday. The attack set off air raid sirens but caused no reported damage or injuries.

Footage released by the Houthis late Wednesday showed the Palestine being raised on what appeared to be a mobile launcher and rising quickly into the air with plumes of white smoke coming from its engine. White smoke is common with solid-fuel missiles.

Concerns Over Rapid Deployment of Solid-Fuel Missiles

Solid-fuel missiles can be set up and fired faster than those containing liquid fuel. That’s a key concern for the Houthis as their missile launch sites have been repeatedly targeted by U.S. and allied forces in recent months over the rebels’ attacks on shipping through the Red Sea corridor. One such strike hit the Houthis even before they were able to launch their missile.

For their part, the Houthis described the Palestine as a “locally made” missile. However, the Houthis are not known to possess the ability to manufacture complicated missile and guidance systems locally in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, which been gripped by war since the rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, nearly a decade ago.

The Houthis have, however, been repeatedly armed by Iran during the war despite a United Nations arms embargo. While Iran claims it doesn’t arm the Houthis, ships seized by the U.S. and its allies have found Iranian weaponry, missile fuel and components on board.

The Threat of Hypersonic Weapons

Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds higher than Mach 5, could pose crucial challenges to missile defense systems because of their speed and maneuverability.

Ballistic missiles fly on a trajectory in which anti-missile systems like the U.S.-made Patriot can anticipate their path and intercept them. The more irregular the missile’s flight path, such as a hypersonic missile with the ability to change directions, the more difficult it becomes to intercept.

China is believed to be pursuing the weapons, as is America. Russia claims it has already used them.

It remains unclear how well the Palestine maneuvers and at what speed it travels.

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