US Central Command said it launched more missile strikes against the Houthis in Yemen early Wednesday morning, marking the ninth time the US bombed Yemen since January 12.
CENTCOM claimed the strikes targeted “two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed into the Southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch” and that US forces “identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat.”
The new US bombing campaign has done nothing to deter the Houthis and has only escalated the situation in the region. Later on Wednesday, the Houthis launched an attack on an American-owned commercial vessel.
CENTCOM said the Houthis “fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the US-flagged, owned, and operated container ship M/V Maersk Detroit, transiting the Gulf of Aden.” The command said one missile landed in the water, and the other two were intercepted by a US Navy warship.
Later in the day, the Houthis said their forces engaged in a two-hour battle with several US warships. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea claimed the confrontation resulted in a Houthi missile “directly hitting an American warship,” but so far, the US has not confirmed the account.
The Houthis began targeting American commercial shipping after President Biden started bombing the Yemeni group, which governs an area of Yemen where 70-80% of Yemenis live. The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, have vowed not to back down and have repeatedly stated the only way they’ll stop targeting Israeli-linked commercial vessels is if the Israeli slaughter in Gaza ends.
President Biden has previously acknowledged the strikes against the Houthis were not working but vowed they would continue anyway. “Are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes,” Biden said last week, referring to the missile strikes. US officials have said the Biden administration is planning for an open-ended war against the Houthis.
The US-backed Saudi-led war against the Houthis killed 377,000 people from 2015-2022, according to the UN. More than half died due to starvation and disease caused by the brutal bombing campaign and blockade on Yemen. The new US bombing campaign has already disrupted relief work in Yemen and could have grave implications for the country’s aid-reliant population.