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Friday, May 24, 2024

US launches new strikes on Yemen

The Pentagon has unleashed a fourth round of airstrikes against Houthi rebels in less than a week

The US reportedly launched a new wave of attacks against alleged militant targets across Yemen on Wednesday night, just hours after Washington designated the Houthi rebel group as a terrorist organization.

The missile salvo was fired from US Navy ships stationed in the Red Sea and targeted sites that were “prepared to launch attacks,” CBS News and the Associated Press reported, citing unnamed US officials. Over a dozen locations were said to have been hit in the strikes.

Read more: US, British forces shoot down 21 drones and missiles fired from Yemen

The operation follows a Houthi strike against the US-owned bulk carrier ship Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden earlier on Wednesday, with the militant group’s spokesman, Yahya Sarea, claiming a “direct hit” on the cargo vessel.

“The naval forces will not hesitate to target all sources of threat in the Red and Arabian sea within the legitimate right to defend Yemen and to continue supporting the oppressed Palestinian people,” he added.

US Central Command (CENTCOM), the agency responsible for overseeing operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, said there were no injuries in the attack and that the vessel remained seaworthy, but noted “some damage” to the ship.

The attack on the cargo vessel comes on the heels of several similar strikes in recent weeks, after the Houthis vowed to target any ship affiliated with Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza. Washington has responded with three previous rounds of missile strikes on Houthi targets, and earlier on Wednesday, announced the redesignation of the militant group as a terrorist organization.

Read more: Yemen’s Houthis claim responsibility for latest attack on Red Sea ship

“The Houthis must be held accountable for their actions, but it should not be at the expense of Yemeni civilians,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “As the Department of State moves forward with this designation, we are taking significant steps to mitigate any adverse impacts this designation may have on the people of Yemen.”

However, Blinken added that the decision would be reversed if the Houthis ceased their attacks on ships transiting the Red Sea. The group had previously been placed on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list under the administration of President Donald Trump, but were delisted in February 2021.