US Conducts Additional Strikes On Houthis After Attacks On Shipping Continue

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. conducted additional strikes on Houthi-linked targets in Yemen on Friday evening after the rebels fired at another commercial vessel earlier that day, the military said.

Friday’s strikes, occurring about 3:45 a.m. Saturday local time, were conducted unilaterally, unlike Thursday night’s multi-nation barrage on dozens of targets, and were limited to a radar facility the Iran-backed militants were using, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement. The U.S. and United Kingdom had carried out strikes with aircraft, warships and submarines against more than 60 targets in nearly 30 different locations the night prior.

The strike “was a follow-on action on a specific military target associated with strikes taken on Jan. 12 designed to degrade the Houthi’s ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels,” CENTCOM said. (RELATED: ‘Nothing Has Changed’: Pentagon Plan To Shut Down Red Sea Attacks Isn’t Working, Experts Say)

The U.S. had threatened to take further retaliatory action if necessary to protect U.S. forces and reinforce freedom of navigation through international waters against the Houthis’ attacks.

“We will make sure that we respond to the Houthis as they continue this outrageous behavior, along with our allies,” President Joe Biden said earlier Friday.

The Houthis launched a ballistic missile at a commercial vessel Friday after initial salvo of multilateral strikes, marking the 28th attack on international shipping since Nov. 19, according to CENTCOM. The missile missed its target but just a few hundred meters but demonstrated the group’s persistence in attempting to shut down trade through the critical waterway.

The USS Carney guided-missile destroyer used Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles to take out the radar site, CENTCOM said.

“These strikes have no association with and are separate from Operation Prosperity Guardian,” the coalition of more than 20 nations aimed at safeguarding shipping in the Red Sea region.

On Thursday, U.S. aircraft, warships and one submarine fired 150 of various kinds of munitions at dozens of targets in 28 locations, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, who heads the Joint Staff’s operations directorate, said on a call with reporters earlier Friday. After striking more than 60 targets, including radars, missile launch sites and storage facilities, munitions depots and other targets at 16 locations, the U.S. conducted a second round of strikes on 12 more targets, Sims said.

He predicted the Houthis would retaliate.

The U.S. and United Kingdom, with non-operational support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, targeted Houthi drone, ballistic and cruise missile, and coastal radar and air surveillance capabilities, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement issued after the strikes concluded.

“If necessary, we will take follow-on actions to protect U.S. forces,” Austin said.

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