In 4th hit in a week, US targets Houthis

For the fourth time in a week, the United States struck Houthi military sites in Yemen on Wednesday, the Pentagon’s Central Command said, the latest in a series of back-and-forth exchanges with the Iran-backed militia, which has attacked merchant vessels and navy warships in the Red Sea and nearby waters.
The strikes destroyed 14 missiles and their launchers as the Houthis were preparing to fire them, Central Command said in a statement. Two US officials said the strikes were carried out by Tomahawk cruise missiles fired by navy vessels. Local news outlets in Yemen reported strikes in three locations in Houthi-controlled territory. “The actions by the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists continue to endanger international mariners and disrupt the commercial shipping lanes in the southern Red Sea and adjacent waterways,” Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, the head of Central Command, said late Wednesday. “We will continue to take actions to protect the lives of innocent mariners and we will always protect our people.”
The pre-emptive strikes on Wednesday came a day after US military aircraft destroyed four missiles that the Central Command said had posed an imminent threat to merchant vessels and Navy ships traveling through the Red Sea and nearby waters. The US salvo came just hours after a drone fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen struck the US-owned bulk carrier Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden, Central Command said Wednesday. There were no injuries and just minor damage to the ship, which continued its journey, the military said.
The Houthis have defied demands by the Biden administration and its allies to cease their attacks on shipping lanes critical for global trade – more than 35 so far since November – vowing to continue their assaults in what they say is a protest against Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip against Hamas. American and British attack planes and warships attacked more than 60 Houthi targets last week. US officials said the strikes were not intended to widen the conflict in West Asia just to damage or destroy the Houthis’ capabilities. So far, however, the American salvos have done neither.
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