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24 Feb, 2024 06:50

US attacks Houthi missile base – military

The Yemeni rebel group has vowed to launch more strikes in the Red Sea, including with submarine weapons
US attacks Houthi missile base – military

The US military says it has successfully destroyed seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles which the Houthi rebels were preparing to launch at targets in the Red Sea. The missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen presented “an imminent threat” to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region, US Central Command said in a statement on Friday.

Since mid-October, the Yemeni-based militant group has launched repeated drone and missile strikes targeting vessels in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. The group claims it is acting in support of the Palestinians over Israel’s military operation in Gaza – where the death toll has reached over 29,000, according to local health authorities – and say they are only targeting ships linked to Israel, the US, and UK.

On Thursday, the Houthis claimed responsibility for an attack on a British-owned cargo ship and said they had also launched drones at a US warship. The group also claimed it targeted the key port city of Eilat in southern Israel with ballistic missiles and drones.

In a televised speech on Thursday afternoon, the group’s leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said “operations in the Red and Arabian Seas, Bab al-Mandab Strait, and the Gulf of Aden are continuing, escalating, and effective.” He also claimed that the Houthis had introduced “submarine weapons,” describing this as “worrying for the enemy.”

Last week, US Central Command acknowledged it destroyed a Houthi underwater drone in the first known instance of the rebel group using this type of device.

US and British warships have been deployed as part of an international task force to protect commercial shipping in the Suez Canal, a crucial route for global trade which provides a shortcut for ships traveling between Europe and Asia.

Repeated attacks in the Red Sea are forcing companies to take longer, more expensive routes around Africa.

The Houthis sent shippers and insurers formal notice on Thursday that ships owned by individuals or entities in Israel, the US, and UK, or that sail under their flags, are banned from sailing in the surrounding seas. “The Humanitarian Operations Center was established in Sanaa to coordinate the safe and peaceful passage of ships and vessels that have no connection to Israel,” a senior Houthi official told Reuters on Thursday.