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U.S. Launches Preemptive Strikes on Houthi Missiles

Houthi Missiles

U.S. Central Command troops on Saturday attacked an anti-ship missile the Houthis were preparing to launch into the Gulf of Aden.

U.S. Central Command also said the latest incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday local time, disrupting global trade, raising concerns about supply chain bottlenecks, and increasing tensions in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This is the seventh time in a week that the US military has attacked a Houthi-armed missile launcher.

The White House said the attacks were necessary to protect merchant ships and U.S. warships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden areas.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the United States launched three strikes Friday to destroy “missile launchers that the Houthis were preparing to attack.” The Houthis, allied with Iran, have been attacking the Red Sea in the past few weeks. and surrounding ships have stalled trade between Europe and Asia, raising concerns about the expansion of war in the Middle East.

The Houthis said the attack was in solidarity with Gaza Palestinians, who are under attack from Israel.

U.S. defense officials said that the Houthis have carried out at least 31 attacks on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November 9, 2023.

Major shipping lines have had to make longer and more expensive voyages around Africa. The Red Sea is an important shipping connection between Europe and Asia, with approximately 15% of the world’s shipping passing through it.

But a senior official of the Iran-backed Houthi terror group said on Friday that Chinese and Russian ships would be able to pass safely through the Red Sea.

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Agence France-Presse reported that Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the political leadership of the Houthi armed forces, said in an interview with the Russian newspaper “Izvestia” that Chinese and Russian ships can safely use shipping routes around Yemen as long as the ships are in contact with Israel. There is nothing to do.

Four regional and two Iranian sources told the media that commanders from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are in Yemen to help direct and oversee Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

The media reported that Iran provided funds, training, and advanced drones, anti-ship cruise missiles, precision strike ballistic missiles, and medium-range missiles to the Houthi armed forces and began attacking commercial ships in November.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders and advisers also provide scientific and technical knowledge, data, and intelligence support to determine which of the dozens of ships passing through the Red Sea every day are bound for Israel and pose targets for the Houthis, all sources said.

Washington also noted last month that Iran was deeply involved in attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and that its intelligence was key to enabling the Houthis to target ships.

Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center for Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, criticized the U.S. government’s response to attacks by Houthi rebels, saying that attacking existing missiles in Yemen without making a comprehensive effort to counter Iranian weapons “is like clearing you.” The water accumulated in the home while ignoring the leaks in the roof.”

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani has repeatedly denied Iran’s involvement in Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards PR office did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to the Houthi armed forces’ dozens of attacks on international shipping, Iran-backed proxies also launched more than 140 attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria after Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7, raising concerns about the expansion of regional wars.

Missile attacks on Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen on Saturday exacerbated the crisis.

Iran said Israel launched a missile attack on a house in Damascus, killing five Revolutionary Guard commanders. Lebanese sources said an Israeli attack killed a member of Hezbollah.

Israel has not commented on the Syrian attack.

A U.S. official said late Saturday that a missile or rocket attack injured U.S. personnel at a base in Iraq where Iran-backed groups have been fighting U.S. forces.

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