US Launches Yet Another Strike Against Houthi Ballistic Missiles In Yemen

The U.S. military on Tuesday reportedly conducted a strike in Yemen against the four Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles, two of the U.S. officials informed Reuters, the most recent move against the Iran-aligned militants over the targeting of the Red Sea shipping. One of the officials mentioned that the missiles were struck as they were being set to target vessels in that region. The U.S. strike was reported a day after Houthis hit the U.S.-operated and owned dry bulk vessel named the Gibraltar Eagle with an anti-ship ballistic missile. The Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping have kept on going even after Britain and the U.S. last week initiated a preliminary series of strikes to degrade the Houthi capabilities.

But unlike the first few U.S. strikes observed last week, which had been against pre-planned targets, Tuesday’s strikes seemed to reflect that the U.S. military would proactively go after the Houthi military capabilities as detected. Once confirmed, that would then usher in a way more assertive posture for the U.S. military personnel toward the Houthi militants. The U.S. military’s Central Command on Monday disclosed the first-ever seizure in over four years of advanced Iran-manufactured ballistic missiles as well as cruise missile components in an 11 January operation that witnessed two of the U.S. Navy SEALs lost at sea near the coast of Somalia.

Missile boat
Representation Image

Initial analysis reportedly indicates the Houthis have employed the same weapons to threaten as well as attack the innocent mariners on international merchant vessels transiting in the Red Sea, Central Command explained in a statement. The Houthis, which control the most crowded segments of Yemen, have claimed that their attacks on commercial vessels are aimed at supporting the Palestinians in Israel’s war based in Gaza. The attacks have also disrupted worldwide shipping and stoked fears of global inflation. They have deepened concerns that the fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could also destabilize the Middle East.

The Houthi movement has reportedly vowed to keep up the attacks despite the strikes last week against the radar as well as missile capabilities. Some specialists firmly believe they welcome a conflict with the U.S. and its allies. A security firm said on Tuesday that a missile struck a bulk carrier owned by Greece as it headed north in the Red Sea, 76 nm to the northwest of Saleef.

Yahya Sarea, the spokesperson of the Houthi military, said in a statement that the Zografia, which was sailing toward Israel, received a “direct hit” from naval missiles. In the words of two officials from the Greek maritime ministry and a security company, the bulk carrier suffered material damage, but nobody was hurt.

On Monday, Eagle Bulk Shipping, a U.S.-based operator of the Gibraltar Eagle, said that the vessel was struck by an unknown projectile when sailing 100 miles off the Gulf of Aden. The attack started a fire in one of the ship’s holds, which included steel items, but there were no injuries, and the vessel continued. Container vessels have been diverting or halting from the Red Sea, which connects with the Suez Canal, the quickest freight way to Europe from Asia. Many vessels, instead, have been compelled to take a longer route via the Cape of Good Hope.

Reference: NYTimes, Reuters

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