The U.S. executed another series of strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as confirmed by three U.S. officials and the U.S. Central Command. This marks the fourth instance of the U.S. targeting the Iran-backed rebel group within a week. The strikes specifically aimed at 14 Houthi missile launchers, which were allegedly used to attack international shipping lanes. The U.S. Central Command stated that Tomahawk missiles were launched from U.S. Navy vessels and the USS Florida, a guided missile submarine.
According to CENTCOM, the targeted missiles posed an “imminent threat” to both commercial vessels and U.S. Navy ships. The U.S. took action based on its “inherent right and obligation to defend” U.S. assets, emphasizing the need to protect innocent mariners.
These strikes come amid a series of actions against the Houthis, following significant U.S.-led strikes last week in collaboration with the U.K. and support from other allies. The region is experiencing heightened tensions, and concerns persist that the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza could escalate further.
Earlier, the Houthis had targeted a U.S.-owned and operated vessel for the second time in a week, using a one-way attack drone to strike the M/V Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel sustained damage but continued its journey, and no injuries were reported.
The U.S. has been cautious about escalating tensions in the region, particularly in light of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Despite Houthi attacks being linked to protests against Israel’s military campaign, the Pentagon asserts that the Israel-Hamas conflict remains contained in Gaza.
The latest strikes coincide with the U.S. re-designating the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SGDT) entity. The U.S. administration condemns these attacks as terrorism, violating international law, and posing a significant threat to lives and global commerce.
While the U.S. had previously stated that strikes aimed to degrade Houthi capabilities, they have continued attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. Expectations of Houthi retaliation persist, with previous strikes having destroyed a substantial portion of their offensive capabilities.
The situation remains dynamic, with ongoing concerns about potential escalation and the broader implications of regional conflicts.