An aircraft takes off to join the US-led coalition to conduct air strikes against military targets in Yemen, aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea. (January 2024)

US Targets Houthi Missile Launchers, Vows To Protect Shipping

Thursday, 01/18/2024

The United States struck Yemeni Houthis’ missile launchers, at midnight on Wednesday, in another attempt to prevent the group from attacking vessels in the Red Sea.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in a post on X that 14 missiles belonging to Iran-backed Houthis were targeted at 11:59 p.m. (Sanaa time) on January 17, adding that the missiles were all “loaded to be fired in Houthi controlled areas in Yemen.”

“These missiles on launch rails presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region and could have been fired at any time,” the post added.

Meanwhile, CENTCOM commander Michael Erik Kurilla vowed that Washington will continue its efforts to protect the lives of Americans and innocent mariners against Yemeni Houthis’ threats in the Red Sea.

“The actions by the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists continue to endanger international mariners and disrupt the commercial shipping lanes,” he stressed.

CENTCOM’s offensive action came hours after the Biden administration listed Houthis as specially designated global terrorists (SDGT) in response to the group’s rising threats in the region. The US, however, has not decided yet to include Houthis in the list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO). 

The Biden administration delisted Iran-backed Houthis’ designation as both a foreign terrorist organization and as a specially designated global terrorist, when it assumned office in early 2021.

Although Tehran has avoided any direct involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the regime has used its proxy groups in the region such as Houthis and Hezbollah to attack Israeli and American targets.

On Wednesday, the Office of the US Special Envoy for Iran condemned Tehran’s backing of Houthi rebels, with a commitment from Washington to ensure freedom of navigation.

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