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US conducts 'self-defense' strikes against Houthi targets

The US carried out "self-defense strikes" against Houthi targets in Yemen, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said Monday.

On March 4 "at 8 p.m. (Sanaa time), CENTCOM forces conducted self-defense strikes against two anti-ship cruise missiles that presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region," it said on X.

The actions were taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters "safer and more secure" for merchant and US Navy vessels.

The move followed attempts by the Houthis to attack vessels.

"On March 4 at approximately 2:15 a.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired an anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen into the southern Red Sea," CENTCOM said.

The missile impacted the water with no reported damage or injuries to commercial or US Navy ships, it added.

"Between the hours of 3:50 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Yemen into the Gulf of Aden at M/V MSC SKY II, a Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned container vessel," it said, adding one of the missiles impacted the vessel, causing damage.

Initial reports indicate there were no injuries, and the ship did not request assistance, according to CENTCOM.

Yemen’s Houthi group has been targeting cargo ships in the Red Sea owned or operated by Israeli companies or transporting goods to and from Israel in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli onslaught since Oct. 7.

The Red Sea is one of the world's most frequently used sea routes for oil and fuel shipments.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently announced the creation of a multinational mission, Operation Prosperity Guardian, to counter the Houthi attacks.


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