US announces plan for preemptive strikes against Houthi targets, Houthis news reports

The military has reported that it successfully destroyed vessels and missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen targeting the Red Sea. The United States has also claimed to have carried out recent strikes against Houthi targets, eliminating missiles, unmanned vessels, and a drone.

According to the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), the attacks were announced late on Monday. They stated that three unmanned surface vessels and two antiship cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen were struck as they prepared to launch towards the Red Sea. The drone, identified as an “unmanned aerial vehicle,” was targeted over the water.

CENTCOM asserted that the attacks were launched in self-defence, with the aim of safeguarding freedom of navigation and enhancing the safety of international waters for US Navy and merchant vessels.

The Iran-aligned Houthis, controlling densely populated regions of Yemen, have conducted multiple attacks on vessels with ties to the US, the United Kingdom, and Israel in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November. The group attributes these attacks to Israel’s actions in Gaza. Despite retaliatory strikes from the US and UK, the Houthis have vowed to persist in their campaign in support of Palestinians until Israel ceases its Gaza operations.

This campaign has disrupted global commerce along a route responsible for approximately 15% of the world’s maritime traffic. Many shipping companies have rerouted their vessels around the southern tip of Africa, adding up to two weeks to the journey and between 3,000 and 6,000 additional nautical miles.

In January, the US reclassified the Houthis as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” (SDGTs), a designation reserved for those deemed to pose a threat to US security. Over the weekend, the US and UK confirmed strikes on 18 Houthi sites across eight locations in Yemen, including underground weapons and missile storage facilities, air defence systems, radars, and a helicopter.

In response to these strikes, Yahya Saree, a group spokesman, vowed that the Houthis would counter the American-British escalation with further military actions against hostile targets in the Red and Arab Seas.

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