US strikes Huthi missile positions in Yemen

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The United States military confirmed Thursday its forces conducted multiple strikes against Huthi missile systems as the Yemen-based rebel group prepared to launch attacks that threatened U.S. Navy and merchant ships.

Beginning early Thursday Sanaa time, U.S. Central Command forces “conducted seven self-defense strikes against four Huthi unmanned surface vessels (USV) and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea,” CENTCOM said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“CENTCOM identified these missiles and USVs in Huthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” it said.

The statement came after CENTCOM said that it had also conducted strikes late Wednesday.

The strikes “will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels,” it said.

On Wednesday the Huthis’ news agency reported that the United States and Britain had hit targets in Yemen’s Hodeida province.

The Iran-backed rebels, who control much of war-torn Yemen including the port of Hodeida, have been targeting shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The Huthis began the attacks in November, saying they were hitting Israel-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza, which has been ravaged by the Israel-Hamas war.

U.S. and British forces have responded with strikes against the Huthis, who have since declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.

On Tuesday the Huthi rebels said they had struck US and British ships in two attacks in the Red Sea, causing minor damage but no casualties.

The Red Sea attacks have raised insurance premiums for shipping companies, forcing many to avoid the Red Sea, a vital route that normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade.

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