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CENTCOM says it thwarted Houthi missile launcher strike on Red Sea vessels

CENTCOM said Wednesday it thwarted a Houthi missile launch targeting vessels in the Red Sea and later "took no action "when an anti-ship ballistic missile was launched by Houthi forces under cover of darkness into the Gulf of Aden. Seen here, the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) sails alongside the Japanese Murasame-class destroyer Akebono (DD 108) in the Gulf of Aden on November 25, 2023. File Photo by PFC3 Samantha Alaman/U.S. Navy/UPI
CENTCOM said Wednesday it thwarted a Houthi missile launch targeting vessels in the Red Sea and later "took no action "when an anti-ship ballistic missile was launched by Houthi forces under cover of darkness into the Gulf of Aden. Seen here, the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) sails alongside the Japanese Murasame-class destroyer Akebono (DD 108) in the Gulf of Aden on November 25, 2023. File Photo by PFC3 Samantha Alaman/U.S. Navy/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The United States said Wednesday its forces struck a mobile anti-ship cruise missile launcher in a "self-defense" strike on a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen, thwarting a strike against vessels in the Red Sea.

The American military successfully carried out the attack against military assets of the Iran-backed group on Tuesday at around 2:35 p.m. local time, Central Command said in its daily bulletin on X.

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However, approximately seven hours later an anti-ship ballistic missile was launched by Houthi forces under cover of darkness into the Gulf of Aden, said CENTCOM.

"U.S. Navy ships tracked the missile but took no action," CENTCOM said, because projections showed it posed no danger to any vessels in the gulf which connects with the Red Sea via the 20-mile-wide Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

"There were no reports of injuries or damage from ships in the area.

"U.S. forces will continue to take actions that protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. navy and merchant vessels," CENTCOM wrote in its round-up.

The latest strike and counter-strike came 24 hours after Houthi rebels launched two missiles at an Iran-bound Greek bulk grain carrier as it was transiting the Bab Al-Mandeb narrows 40 miles south of the Yemeni port city of Al Mukha, slightly damaging the vessel but causing no injuries.

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CENTCOM said the 40,000-ton Star Iris had reported its crew were all safe and that it was continuing on its journey to Bandar Iman Khomeini in Iran.

The maritime traffic tracking website Vessel Finder shows the Iris Star left the Brazilian port of Vila do Conde with a shipment of corn on Jan. 13, bound for the Iranian port which lies at the northern end of Persian Gulf.

The Houthis have targeted at least two dozen ships passing Yemen in the past three months as part of a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and protesting the civilian toll from Israel's war on Hamas.

The Iran-backed group, which initially said its targets were Israeli vessels or ships bound for ports in Israel, recently expanded its mandate to include military operations against American and British targets in the Arabian and Red seas after the allies initialed full, large-scale retaliation against Houthi attacks on shipping in January.

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