Five Things to Know, Dec. 4, 2023
(U.S. Navy photo)

Five Things to Know, Dec. 4, 2023

1.   Three commercial ships came under attack Sunday four times by drones and missiles in the Red Sea, and a U.S. warship there responded to the distress calls as part of an hourslong assault claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, officials said. The attack potentially marked a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war as multiple vessels found themselves in the crosshairs of a single Houthi assault for the first time in the conflict.

2.   U.S. and Japanese divers have discovered wreckage and remains of crew members from a U.S. Air Force Osprey aircraft that crashed last week off southwestern Japan, the Air Force announced Monday. The CV-22 Osprey carrying eight American crew crashed last Wednesday off Yakushima island during a training mission. The body of one victim was recovered and identified earlier, while seven others remained missing.

3.   The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it. In a letter to House and Senate leaders and also released publicly, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned the U.S. will run out of funding to send weapons and assistance to Ukraine by the end of the year, saying that would “kneecap” Ukraine on the battlefield.

4.   Seoul test-fired a U.S.-built ship-to-air missile in South Korean waters for the first time on Friday. The destroyer ROKS Gang Gam-chan fired the Standard Missile-2 in the East Sea, or Sea of Japan, and hit an inbound unmanned aerial vehicle, South Korea’s navy said in a news release Sunday. The SM-2 was tracked from Samcheok Marine Research Center on Gangwon Province’s eastern coast. The 65-acre facility opened in 2021 and provides a host of analytical services, including underwater noise and infrared testing.

5.   Israel’s military renewed calls Monday for mass evacuations from the southern town of Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in recent weeks, as it widened its ground offensive and bombarded targets across the Gaza Strip. The expanded operations, following the expiration of a weeklong cease-fire, are aimed at eliminating Gaza’s Hamas rulers, whose Oct. 7 attack into Israel triggered the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades. The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of the territory’s population of 2.3 million people, who are running out of safe places to go.