U.S. forces carried out two more preemptive strikes on missiles that Houthi militants in Yemen were preparing to launch in their ongoing campaign of attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, according to U.S. Central Command.
At 9 p.m. Wednesday, U.S. strikes targeted two mobile anti-ship cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, CENTCOM said in a statement Thursday.
Another strike at 11:30 p.m. was made against a mobile land-attack cruise missile, which was determined to be “an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels,” CENTCOM said, without specifying what forces were involved.
The U.S. has launched at least seven strikes in recent days that CENTCOM has described as self-defense. They include targeting 11 anti-ship cruise missiles and one land-attack missile last weekend.
On Monday, U.S. forces also preemptively destroyed two Houthi explosive surface drones, CENTCOM said Tuesday.
The Houthi fighters have said they are attacking commercial and military shipping in the Red Sea as a show of support for Gaza, where war between Israel and Hamas has raged since Oct. 7.
Between Nov. 19 and Feb. 2, the Iran-backed proxy group had attacked or threatened at least 41 commercial vessels in the Red Sea, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Tuesday. That assessment didn’t include three Houthi attacks Tuesday with anti-ship ballistic missiles that targeted a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden, CENTCOM said Wednesday.
The first missile exploded near the vessel and caused minor damage but no injuries, military officials said. A subsequent missile landed harmlessly in the water near the ship and the third was shot down by the destroyer USS Laboon, which was nearby, according to CENTCOM.
In a separate attack, the Houthis appeared to target a Barbados-flagged, British-owned cargo ship in the southern Red Sea. All three missiles fired in that attack landed without incident, CENTCOM said.