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US conducts more ‘self-defense’ strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen

file photo: the suez canal connecting the mediterranean sea to the red sea is pictured from the window of a commercial plane flying over egypt
File photo: The Suez Canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea

The U.S. Central Command forces conducted seven “self-defense” strikes against four Houthi unmanned surface vessels and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to be launched against ships in the Red Sea, the U.S. military said.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

The Iran-aligned Houthi militants, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have launched a wave of exploding drones and missiles at commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in recent weeks, calling it a response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza and a show of solidarity to Palestinians.

The Houthi campaign has disrupted international shipping. The United States and Britain have recently launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen and returned the militia to a list of “terrorist groups.”

KEY QUOTE

“CENTCOM identified these missiles and USVs (unmanned surface vessels) in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” the U.S. Central Command said in a statement on X, formerly called Twitter.

CONTEXT

Houthi attacks on ships in and around the Red Sea have slowed trade between Asia and Europe, raised fears of supply bottlenecks and alarmed major powers that the Gaza war may become a regional conflict.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in January that strikes on Houthi targets would continue even as he acknowledged they may not be halting their attacks.

The Gaza health ministry says over 27,000 people have been killed in the densely populated enclave since. Many more are feared buried in rubble with nearly the entire population displaced. Israeli bombardments have flattened Gaza, which now remains on the brink of starvation.

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