US Strikes Houthi Missile Prepared To Launch At US Aircraft

Screenshot / U.S. Central Command @CENTCOM / X

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. struck an anti-aircraft missile the Iran-backed Houthi terrorists had poised to launch at U.S. aircraft on Wednesday, the military said in a statement.

The U.S. has, so far, primarily adopted a strategy of intercepting missiles prepared to launch against commercial shipping or U.S. military ships and aircraft operating in the Red Sea as a guard against seemingly unending Houthi attacks. The Houthi had set up the surface-to-air missile and presented an “imminent threat” to U.S. aircraft, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

“Jan. 31 at approximately 3:30 p.m. (Sanaa time), USCENTCOM forces struck and destroyed a Houthi surface-to-air missile prepared to launch. U.S. forces identified the missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that it presented an imminent threat to U.S. aircraft,” the statement read. (RELATED: Pentagon Spox Dodges Question On Whether Biden Admin’s Houthi Strategy Is Actually Working)

CENTCOM did not provide further details about the incident. Both the U.S. Navy and Air Force have aircraft operating in the region.

The U.S. has conducted separate strikes targeted specifically at Houthi capabilities with the intent to degrade or destroy their ability to carry out further attacks.

In addition to the dynamic attacks, the U.S. and United Kingdom, with non-combat support from other partners, have conducted two separate rounds of large-scale strikes on Houthi missile, weapons storage and radar capabilities.

U.S. and United Kingdom forces carried out “proportionate and necessary” attacks that specifically targeted an underground storage site packed with drones and missiles, and other locations connected to the rebel group’s missile launch and air surveillance capabilities on Jan. 22. Less than half an hour after those strikes ended, the U.S. conducted a single attack on an anti-ship cruise missile the Houthis were actively preparing to launch at the Red Sea, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a briefing on Jan. 23.

On Tuesday, the USS Gravely destroyer shot down an anti-ship missile the Houthis launched into the Red Sea, CENTCOM said. It was unclear whether the missile was aiming at the destroyer. CENTCOM has specified in previous incidents when a missile was heading “toward” the vessels, although the Pentagon has been reticent to acknowledge that the Houthis intended to target U.S. assets.

“The Houthis have attacked or threatened international and commercial shipping, as well as naval vessels, 36 times since Nov. 19,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon spokesperson, said in an email to reporters on Tuesday. The last confirmed Houthi attack on a merchant or naval vessel was on Jan. 27, she said.

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