U.S. Confirms the Airstrike
In a statement on social media platform X, U.S. Central Command said the Houthi missiles presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region.
‘These missiles on launch rails … could have been fired at any time, prompting U.S. forces to exercise their inherent right and obligation to defend themselves,’ it added.
‘These strikes, along with other actions we have taken, will degrade the Houthi’s capabilities to continue their reckless attacks on international and commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.’
The U.S. strikes are meant to degrade the Houthis’ ability to carry out attacks in the Red Sea.
What Houthis Says
But the Houthis, who control most of Yemen, say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and have threatened to expand their attacks.
Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. Central Command said a drone launched from areas controlled by the Houthi rebels in Yemen had struck a U.S.-owned vessel in the Gulf of Aden.
There was some damage but no injuries in the attack, it added on X. The vessel, M/V Genco Picardy, is a Marshall Islands-flagged flagged, U.S.-operated bulk carrier ship, it said.
Houthi Rebels are Dubbed ‘Terrorist Group’
The Biden administration has re-listed the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist group, drawing harsh criticism from Republicans who slammed the move for not going far enough.
Former President Donald Trump had previously listed Houthis as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) and specially designated global terrorists (SDGT).
But Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken de-listed them in 2021 to make it easier to get humanitarian aid into Yemen.
Three years later, Biden bowed to increasing pressure to re-list the group – as SDGT only after Houthi rebels attacked U.S. ships in the Red Sea.