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Houthis Fire 6 More Anti-Ship Missiles Into Red Sea


A Tomahawk land attack missile (TLAM) is launched from the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Gravely against what the U.S. military describes as Houthi military targets in Yemen, Feb. 3, 2024. (U.S. Central Command/Handout via Reuters)
A Tomahawk land attack missile (TLAM) is launched from the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Gravely against what the U.S. military describes as Houthi military targets in Yemen, Feb. 3, 2024. (U.S. Central Command/Handout via Reuters)

Iranian-backed Houthi militants have once again ignored U.S. calls to stop attacking international shipping lanes or face consequences, this time firing six anti-ship missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen into the Red Sea, a U.S. official tells VOA.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said U.S. naval forces had shot at least one of the missiles down on Tuesday, with others falling into the sea.

There were no reported injuries, and the ship was able to continue toward its destination, CENTCOM said in a statement.

In the southern Red Sea, CENTCOM said three missiles likely targeting the Barbados-flagged, UK-owned cargo ship MV Morning Tide landed in the water without causing any damage.

The latest Houthi launches came as an unclassified Defense Intelligence Agency report released Tuesday confirmed that Houthi militants in Yemen were using various Iranian-made missiles and drones in its recent attacks across the region. The report compares publicly available images of Iranian weapons to those employed by the Houthis and highlights the strengthening relationship between the Houthis and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. military said it conducted its latest self-defense strikes against two Houthi kamikaze drone boats that were laden with explosives.

CENTCOM, which oversees U.S. forces in the region, said the vessels “presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.”

“We’re not at war with the Houthis. We’re not seeking to go to war with the Houthis, but if they continue the attacks, we will continue to disrupt and degrade their capabilities,” Pentagon press secretary Major General Pat Ryder told reporters on Monday.

U.S. strikes Sunday hit multiple Houthi cruise missiles. Saturday, the U.S. and Britain struck at least 36 Houthi targets in Yemen.

The Houthis have said their Red Sea attacks are in solidarity with the people of Gaza and vowed to continue them, despite the U.S. and British strikes.

“Our war against Israel is moral because its goal is to stop the crimes of genocide in Gaza and allow the entry of food, medicine, and fuel to its besieged residents, and this goal represents the will of all the free people of the world,” Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi official, wrote Monday on X.

Meanwhile, the latest wave of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, aimed at pounding targets associated with almost 170 attacks by Iranian-backed militias on U.S. forces in the region, appears to be expanding the fissure between Washington and Baghdad.

Friday’s airstrikes targeted three locations in Iraq, as well as another four in Syria, and destroyed more than 80 individual targets, ranging from command-and-control centers and intelligence hubs to missile and drone storage facilities, according to the latest U.S. assessments.

But while U.S. officials defended the strikes as necessary following a drone attack that killed three U.S. soldiers at a base in Jordan last month, Iraqi officials have voiced increased anger, summoning the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Baghdad to protest the U.S. strikes after alleging some of the targets were part of the government’s own security forces.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the attack drone that targeted Tower 22 in Jordan and killed the three American troops may have gone undetected “due to its low flight path.” It also reported that the base was not outfitted with weapons that can “kill” aerial threats like drones, instead relying on electronic warfare systems designed to disable them.

VOA has not confirmed this report.

The U.S. State Department Monday said Iraq was not given any warning but added that the U.S. strikes should not have come as a surprise.

The Pentagon on Monday also pushed back against some of the Iraqi assertions.

“As we conduct these strikes, we are very focused on Iranian-backed proxy groups,” Ryder said.

Ryder added, however, that as of now, the U.S. has no plans for a long-term military campaign against the militias in Iraq and Syria.

Syrian opposition activist say at least 29 fighters were killed in Syria, while Iraqi officials said at least 16 militia members were killed, with another 36 wounded.

The U.S. has about 2,500 troops in Iraq tasked with advising and assisting Iraqi security forces as they pursue the remnants of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or Daesh.

And while talks between the U.S. and Iraq are underway to eventually reduce the U.S. military footprint and transition from the counter-IS mission to what officials describe as more traditional military-to-military relationship with Baghdad, the process has been complicated by the attacks.

State Department bureau chief Nike Ching and U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse.