US strikes Houthi unmanned vessels, anti-ship missiles, drone

AFP , Tuesday 27 Feb 2024

US forces struck three unmanned vessels and two cruise missiles inside Yemen and an attack drone over the Red Sea on Monday that posed an "imminent threat" to ships in the area, the military said.

File photo: Over the weekend, US and British forces carried out strikes against 18 Huthi targets across eight locations in Yemen. AFP


Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting Israel-linked vessels for months to pressure Israel into halting its war on Gaza and allowing aid access for the some 2.3 million Palestinians under siege by Israel.

The Houthi offensive which began in November has persisted despite repeated US and British strikes aimed at degrading their ability to threaten a vital global trade route.

In Monday's attack, US Central Command (CENTCOM) destroyed "three unmanned surface vessels, two mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, and a one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicle," it said on social media.

"The (vessels) and (missile) weapons were prepared to launch towards... the Red Sea," CENTCOM said, adding that the drone was already airborne.

Those strikes, made between the hours of 4:45 pm and 11:45 pm Sanaa time (1345 GMT to 2045 GMT), were done "in self-defense", it said.

"CENTCOM forces... determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the US Navy ships in the region."

Over the weekend, US and British forces carried out strikes against 18 Houthi targets across eight locations in Yemen, including weapons storage facilities, attack drones, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter, according to a joint statement.

One person was killed and eight wounded in the attacks, the Houthis' official news agency said late on Sunday.

Co-signed by countries including Australia, Denmark, Bahrain and Canada, the joint statement said that "more than 45 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November constitute a threat to the global economy, as well as regional security and stability."

The Houthis have repeatedly asserted that they are hitting Israel-linked vessels in support of Palestinians ravaged by the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip.

Houthis have declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well since those countries began responding militarily to the attacks on shipping.

Anger over Israel's devastating campaign in Gaza has grown across the Middle East, provoking reprisals from groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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