The United States carried out a fresh round of attack against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, destroying three anti-ship missiles in the Red Sea.
The White House confirmed in a statement that this was the fourth preemptive action taken by the US military amid boiling tensions in the Red Sea.
“This morning, US forces conducted three successful self-defence strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. This is the fourth preemptive action that the US military has taken in the past,” the White House said in a statement on January 19.
The US Central Command informed that the attack was carried out at around 6:45 pm (Sanaa time) after the anti-ship missiles “presented an imminent threat” to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region.
“As part of ongoing efforts to protect freedom of navigation and prevent attacks on maritime vessels, US Navy ships are present in the Red Sea. On January 19 at approximately 6:45 pm (Sanaa time), US Central Command forces conducted strikes against three Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed into the Southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch,” the US Central Command posted on X.
U.S. CENTCOM Destroys Three Houthi Terrorists' Anti-Ship Missiles
As part of ongoing efforts to protect freedom of navigation and prevent attacks on maritime vessels, U.S. Navy ships are present in the Red Sea. On Jan. 19 at approximately 6:45 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central… pic.twitter.com/vPYUaIvvA5
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 19, 2024
“US forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region. US forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defense. This action will make international waters safe and secure for US navy vessels and merchant vessels,” it added.
Earlier on January 18, Houthis launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles at US Ship Chem Ranger, but no injury or damage was reported, US Central Command said. Prior to this, the US forces had launched strikes on 14 Houthi missiles “that were loaded to be fired in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen” on January 18.
US called the attack its ongoing multi-national efforts to protect freedom of navigation and prevent attacks on US and partner maritime traffic in the Red Sea on January 17 at approximately 11:59 pm (Sanaa time).
Notably, the US redesignated the Yemeni group as a “terrorist” organisation in response to its continuing attacks and threats to shipping and imposed sanctions on it. The designation does not go into effect for 30 days.
The Houthis said the designation will not affect its operations to prevent Israeli ships or vessels heading to Israel from crossing the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.
The Houthis, who support the Palestinian armed group Hamas, launched their attacks in response to Israel’s war on Gaza. Their strikes have slowed trade between Asia and Europe and alarmed major world powers, Al Jazeera reported.
(with inputs from ANI)