The United States recently carried out self-defense attacks against four Houthi ballistic missiles that posed an imminent threat to U.S. merchant ships and Navy vessels. The attacks targeted Iran-backed Yemeni rebels and had not been previously reported. Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping have continued even after US President Joe Biden ordered an initial wave of attacks to degrade Houthi capabilities. The Houthis, who control most of Yemen’s Red Sea coast, have claimed that their attacks on commercial ships are aimed at supporting the Palestinians in the Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
The Houthi movement has committed to expanding its objectives in the region of the Red Sea to include US ships and has vowed to keep up attacks after US and British forces carried out dozens of attacks last week against radar and missile capabilities. Earlier today, Houthi forces attacked the bulk carrier Gibraltar Eagle, US-owned and operated, with an anti-ship ballistic missile, the US military says. Houthi attacks and US retaliation have raised tensions across the Middle East.
Commandos US Navy SEALs seized Iranian-made missile components and other weapons from a ship bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Two commandos went missing during the operation, the US command said Tuesday. The US Navy and its allies have seized several shipments of weapons destined for the rebels, whose attacks threaten global trade in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The seized components are of the type used in those attacks. Houthi attacks and US retaliation have raised tensions across the Middle East. Iran has attacked Iraq and Syria with ballistic missiles.
The SEAL raid was carried out last Thursday in the Arabian Sea. The commandos attacked from the USS Lewis B. Puller with support from drones and helicopters, Central Command said. They found ballistic and cruise missile components, propulsion and guidance devices and warheads, Central Command said. They also found components for anti-aircraft defense. “Initial analysis indicates that the same weapons have been used by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent sailors on international merchant ships transiting the Red Sea,” the Central Command said in a statement. Images distributed by the military and analyzed by The Associated Press show components similar to rocket engines. They also show what appears to be a cruise missile with a small turbo engine, the type used by the Houthis and Iran. The U.S. Navy sank the ship carrying the weapons because it was deemed unsafe, Central Command said. The 14 crew members were detained.
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