US again targets Yemen's Houthis in new strikes

AFP , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

The United States carried out fresh strikes against Yemen's Houthi rebels Saturday, the military said, targeting an anti-ship missile that was "prepared to launch."

Houthi Yemen
Houthi fighters and tribesmen are seen staging a rally on Sunday against US and UK strikes on Houthi-run military sites near Sanaa, Yemen. AP


Washington is seeking to reduce the Houthis' military capabilities, but the Yemeni rebels have continued their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, despite more than a week of strikes, and have vowed to keep targeting Israeli-linked ships to press Israel to halt its war on Gaza and allow aid access for 2.4 million Palestinians suffering under Israel's war.

At around 4 am Sanaa time (0100 GMT), US "forces conducted airstrikes against a Houthi anti-ship missile that was aimed into the Gulf of Aden and was prepared to launch," a statement from US Central Command said Saturday.

"US forces determined the missile presented a threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region, and subsequently struck and destroyed the missile in self-defense."

"This action will make international waters safer and more secure for US Navy and merchant vessels," the statement said.

The Houthis began striking Israeli-linked vessels in and around the Red Sea in November, and subsequently declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well after both countries carried out strikes on Yemen.

Saturday's operation marks the fifth round of strikes by the United States on the rebel group in recent weeks. Dozens of sites in Yemen have been hit, including a Houthi radar site and missiles Washington says posed a threat to civilian and military vessels.

Washington is also seeking to put diplomatic and financial pressure on the Houthis, re-designating them as a "terrorist" entity after dropping that label soon after President Joe Biden took office.

Yemen is just one part of a growing crisis in the Middle East amid the Israeli war on Gaza, where Israel's relentless bombardment and ground invasion have killed nearly 25,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

Short link: