In two separate preemptive attacks, US forces targeted cruise missiles belonging to the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen on Wednesday night.
The US military announced in a post on X that the attacks targeted two mobile anti-ship cruise missiles and a mobile land attack cruise missile which posed “an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels” in the region.
“These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure,” the post added. It is the fourth attack on Houthi targets in recent weeks following the militant group's campaign to target shipping lanes in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait began in November in allegiance with fellow Iran-backed militia, Hamas in Gaza.
The Yemeni militia, designated by countries including the US, hopes the blockade will force Israel into a ceasefire amidst a war in Gaza triggered by Hamas's invasion of Israel on October 7. Following Israel's relentless retaliation vowing to eradicate the terror group, Iran's proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have also joined the proxy war, targeting both Israel and US assets in the region.
Meanwhile, Germany announced Thursday that it has dispatched a frigate to the region as part of the EU naval mission. Tasked with protecting international ships in the Red Sea against Iran-backed Houthis’ raids, the mission is scheduled to be launched in mid-February.
“The current situation in the Red Sea has already caused bottlenecks in supply and forced some companies to stop their production,” said Jan Christian Kaack, the chief of the German navy, further stressing that “free sea trade routes are the basis of our industry and of our capability to defend ourselves.”