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U.S. military destroys a Houthi missile preparing to launch

U.S. military destroys a Houthi missile

The U.S. military said on Wednesday (January 31) that it had hit and destroyed a surface-to-air missile prepared to be launched by the Houthi armed forces in Yemen.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the U.S. military “determined that it posed an imminent threat to U.S. aircraft.”

Hours before U.S. forces attacked the launch site, Houthi militants said they attacked a U.S. warship in the Red Sea. Several missiles were launched, and plans were made to continue attacking American and British ships.

Central Command said the USS Gravely shot down an anti-ship cruise missile launched from Yemen by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The attack resulted in no casualties or damage, Central Command said in a statement.

The Houthis have carried out more than 30 missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea since mid-November, causing significant damage to commercial shipping in the key waterway.

Many shipping companies have changed the way they operate, taking longer and more expensive routes around Africa instead of using the shipping lanes that connect the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

The U.S. military and Britain have carried out strikes on Houthi missiles and military sites in Yemen while working to thwart missiles and drones launched by the Houthis.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday that the U.S. took action to “protect international shipping and crews transiting the Red Sea and to degrade and disrupt the ability of the Houthis to engage in these types of attacks.”

The European Union is considering launching its own naval operation to protect the Red Sea.

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EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters on Wednesday that he hoped the initiative, launched in a few weeks, would focus on deterring Houthi attacks rather than attacking them directly.

Borrell said many European companies had called for action because of the high cost of shipping ships around Africa.

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