By Kanishka Singh
Saturday February 10, 2024
The U.S. Central Command forces on Thursday conducted seven “self-defense” strikes against four Houthi unmanned surface vessels and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to be launched against ships in the Red Sea, the U.S. military said.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
The Iran-aligned Houthi militants, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have launched a wave of exploding drones and missiles at commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, opens new tab in recent weeks, calling it a response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza and a show of solidarity to Palestinians.
The Houthi campaign has disrupted international shipping. The United States and Britain have recently launched strikes, opens new tab on Houthi targets in Yemen and returned the militia to a list of “terrorist groups.”
“CENTCOM identified these missiles and USVs (unmanned surface vessels) in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” the U.S. Central Command said in a statement on X, formerly called Twitter.
Houthi attacks on ships in and around the Red Sea have slowed trade between Asia and Europe, raised fears of supply bottlenecks and alarmed major powers that the Gaza war may become a regional conflict.
U.S. President Joe Biden said in January that strikes on Houthi targets would continue even as he acknowledged they may not be halting their attacks.
Israel’s assault on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip followed a surprise attack by Palestinian Islamist Hamas militants on southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200, according to Israeli tallies.
The Gaza health ministry says over 27,000 people have been killed in the densely populated enclave since. Many more are feared buried in rubble with nearly the entire population displaced. Israeli bombardments have flattened Gaza, which now remains on the brink of starvation.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler