The US launched yet another round of strikes on the Houthis in Yemen, making it the fourth round of US strikes against the rebel group backed by Iran in less than a week, according to three US officials and US Central Command.
CENTCOM claimed in a statement on Wednesday night that the US had destroyed 14 Houthi missile systems that were being utilized to threaten international trade channels. According to two US officials, Tomahawk missiles were fired from US Navy surface ships as well as the guided missile submarine USS Florida.
According to CENTCOM, the missiles were “loaded to be fired in Houthi held areas in Yemen” and constituted an “imminent threat” to US Navy and shipping companies.
The US acted with the “inherent right and obligation to defend” US assets, even though the missiles might have been launched “at any time,” according to the statement.
US Central Command commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla declared, “We will always protect our people and we will continue to take actions to protect the lives of innocent mariners.”
Following major US-led strikes with the UK last week and backing from a few other partners, the US strikes are the most recent in a string of actions against the Houthis. They coincide with increased Middle East tensions and worries that the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza may spread farther throughout the region.
The Houthis attacked a US-owned and controlled vessel for the second time this week a few hours ago. According to US Central Command, the rebel group with Iranian support targeted the M/V Genco the Picardy region in the Gulf of Aden with a one-way attack drone. Central Command claimed in a statement that there were no injuries on board the commercial ship. Despite significant damage, the ship managed to continue its journey.
Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile
The Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile on a second US-owned and operated vessel on Monday, appearing to be the first successful attack against a US asset since the group began targeting international trade channels in mid-November.
As concerns about the confrontation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza spreading around the region grow, the US has been working to prevent a significant escalation in the situation. Furthermore, the Pentagon insisted on Wednesday that the Israel-Hamas conflict has not spread, despite the Houthis’ claims that the attacks are in retaliation for Israel’s military effort in Gaza, frequent attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, and fighting between Israel and Hezbollah over the Israel-Lebanon border.
There are undoubtedly conflicts in the Middle East. Tensions have existed there ever since the Israel-Hamas conflict began. But to address your question, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, stated during a news briefing, “We currently estimate that the fight between Israel and Hamas continues to stay contained in Gaza.”
Additionally, the US reclassified the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group on the same day as the latest strikes.
A US senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday that these acts are an obvious example of terrorism, a breach of international law, a serious threat to lives, global business, and the provision of humanitarian assistance.
The Houthis have persisted in attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea, despite the US’s announcement last week that the strikes would weaken their ability to do so. Roughly one-third of the Houthis’ total offensive capacity was destroyed by last week’s strikes, a US official earlier told the news.
Since then, officials have stated that they anticipate the Houthis taking some sort of revenge. In fact, the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a cargo ship, was damaged by an anti-ship ballistic missile on Monday in what appears to be the first instance of a US-owned and operated ship being targeted by the Houthis.
Additionally, just hours after the US struck four anti-ship missiles in additional attacks, the Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile into the Southern Red Sea’s international commerce lanes on Tuesday.