JERUSALEM — Israeli forces have intercepted a long-range ballistic missile over the Red Sea region using the Arrow 3 air defense system, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.

The Arrow 3 is an exo-atmospheric missile capable of long-range interception by traveling through the lowest layer of space during its flight path. This week’s intercept marks the first operational success since the weapon entered service in 2017.

The system shot down a ground-launched missile fired from Yemen by the Houthis, as part of that organization’s effort to join the Hamas terror group and distract Israel from its war efforts in Gaza.

The Arrow 3 system is co-developed and co-produced by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Israel Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), led by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as the prime contractor of the project.

Israel announced the sale of Arrow 3 missile-defense system to Germany in a $3.5 billion deal in August, after getting U.S. approval for the deal, marking it as Israel’s largest defense export ever.

The Israeli military said earlier this month that the predecessor system, Arrow-2, had notched an intercept, also its first, against an Ayyash 250 missile, launched by Hamas in Gaza towards Eilat in southern Israel.

Tzally Greenberg is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has experience reporting on economic affairs as well as defense and cyber companies.

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