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THE US military has carried out new air strikes on Yemen, targeting the ruling Houthis’ military over its attack on shipping, officials said today.
Four explosive-loaded drone boats and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missile launchers that could target vessels in the Red Sea were destroyed by the strikes, the US military’s Central Command said.
US Central Command repeated the same narrative it has used after previous attacks, saying that the targets had “presented 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 for the US navy and merchant vessels,” a statement said.
The Houthi-led Yemeni government has not acknowledged the losses.
Since November, the Houthis have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea in response to Israel’s relentless offensive in Gaza, which the International Court of Justice recently said could plausibly be described as genocidal.
In recent weeks, the United States and Britain have launched air strikes on alleged Yemeni missile arsenals and launch sites for Houthi attacks.
Despite this, the Houthis have continued to target vessels with Israeli, US or British connections in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
They have vowed to continue the attacks until the brutal Israeli assault on Gaza ends.
Yemeni militia leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi said his movement’s attacks had paralysed tourism in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, turning it into a place of “fear.”
Mr Houthi claimed that his country was the only one that has dared to attack US Navy ships since 1945.
“For the first time since World War II, the Americans confronted a predicament in which their ships and battleships became targets,” he said.
“The US and British attacks on our country this week totalled 86 strikes and had no impact on restricting our capabilities.”
German frigate the Hessen set sail on Thursday to take part in a European Union mission to help defend freighters from Houthi attacks.
EU foreign ministers are expected to sign off on the Red Sea mission on February 19, with seven countries ready to provide ships or planes.
Meanwhile, a court in Yemen’s Ibb region sentenced 13 people to death on Thursday on charges relating to homosexuality. Three others were jailed and another 35 detained.
Human Rights Watch researcher Niku Jafarnia said the Houthis were “ramping up their abuses at home while the world is busy watching their attacks in the Red Sea.”
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