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U.S. Downs Drones As It Strikes Houthi Missile Positions in Yemen

The United States Central Command carried out on Thursday self-defense strikes against Houthi missiles and drones in areas in Yemen controlled by the Iran-aligned group, CENTCOM said in a statement on Friday.

CENTCOM forces conducted on Thursday afternoon local time self-defense strikes against four mobile Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) and one Houthi unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, the Command said.     

CENTCOM forces also shot down during this timeframe three UAVs launched from Iranian-backed Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden.

“These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels,” the Central Command said, hours after the first deadly attack by the Houthis on a commercial vessel in the Red Sea.

On Wednesday, the Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the merchant bulk carrier True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned ship, while it was transiting the Gulf of Aden. The missile struck the vessel, and the multinational crew reported three fatalities, at least four injuries, of which three are in critical condition, and significant damage to the ship, the U.S. Central Command said.

This was the fifth missile fired by Houthis in two days. Two of these missiles hit two shipping vessels - M/V MSC Sky II and M/V True Confidence - and one missile was shot down by USS Carney, CENTCOM said on Wednesday.

As a German warship joins the fight against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis in the Red Sea, the U.S Department of Defense told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week that it had struck 230 targets in Yemen since the Biden Administration ordered airstrikes in January.  

Also last week, the Yemeni Houthis said attacks on ships in the Red Sea would continue, adding they would target UK-linked vessels.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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