U.S. strikes Yemen-based Houthis, targeting anti-ship missiles, U.S. officials say 

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By Carina

The United States heightened its military response against the Houthis in Yemen with a new strike on Tuesday. 

Targeting the group’s anti-ship missiles, this operation marks the third recent U.S. action against the Iran-supported faction. 

U.S. official confirms Yemen strike, Houthis claim Red Sea vessel attack

A U.S. official, speaking under anonymity, confirmed the strike but withheld specific details, citing the operation’s confidentiality.

Concurrently, the Houthis, recognized for their ties to Iran, claimed responsibility for an assault on the Malta-flagged vessel Zografia in the Red Sea. 

Credit: DepositPhotos

This attack, which fortunately resulted in no casualties, occurred as the ship was en route to the Suez Canal, according to the Greek Shipping and Island Policy Ministry. 

The Zografia, managed by a Greek company, experienced material damage only, and the crew, comprising 20 Ukrainians, three Filipinos, and one Georgian, remained unharmed. Despite the attack, satellite data revealed the vessel continued its journey.

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Houthis’ justification and U.S. retaliation

In a pre-recorded statement, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree justified the attack, asserting that it followed the ship crew’s failure to respond to warning calls and the vessel’s alleged course towards an Israeli port. 

However, Vessel Finder, a ship-tracking website, indicated that Zografia’s destination was Suez, Egypt.

This incident reflects the unceasing nature of Houthi attacks on maritime assets despite substantial U.S. and British military offensives last Friday. 

These offensives involved a series of bombings targeting over 60 Houthi locations with Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets.

US Navy SEALs intercept Iranian-made missile parts for Houthis

Amidst these hostilities, the U.S. Navy SEALs intercepted a shipment of Iranian-made missile parts destined for the Houthis. 

This operation, occurring last week, unfortunately, resulted in two commandos going missing. Central Command detailed the seizure, which included cruise and ballistic missile components, air defense parts, and warheads. 

The U.S. military’s analysis indicated these weapons were similar to those used by the Houthis in Red Sea attacks.

“The nation of Yemen and the government of (the Houthis) have truly done a great job,” said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, applauding the Houthis’ actions in a recent speech.

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Heightened regional tensions and United Nations response

The ongoing attacks, U.S. retaliatory strikes, and the SEAL raid have significantly escalated Middle Eastern tensions. 

These developments come alongside Iran’s ballistic missile strikes in Iraq and Syria. The SEAL operation, launched from the USS Lewis B. Puller, involved complex maneuvers in challenging conditions.

The U.S. Navy ultimately scuttled the ship carrying the arms, deeming it a hazard, and detained its 14 crew members. The Houthis have not officially commented on this seizure, nor has Iran’s United Nations mission responded to inquiries.

A U.N. resolution explicitly prohibits arms transfers to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, with Tehran consistently denying allegations of supplying the group despite mounting evidence and expert analyses linking the weapons back to Iran.

Continual threat to maritime security

Since November, Houthi aggressions in the Red Sea have escalated, purportedly in retaliation against Israel’s actions in Gaza. 

Credit: DepositPhotos

These attacks have targeted a variety of vessels, many with no apparent connection to Israel, thus endangering a critical global trade route. 

Recent U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Houthi positions, to which the group responded by attacking another U.S.-owned vessel, the Gibraltar Eagle, in the Gulf of Aden, further intensifying the risks in this volatile conflict.

Middle East tensions: US-Houthi conflict raises concerns

The recent chain of events underscores the complexity and danger of the situation in the Middle East. 

The U.S. military’s actions against the Houthis, coupled with the group’s continuous attacks on maritime assets, reveal a precarious balance of power and influence in the region. 

As global powers navigate these turbulent waters, the safety of international shipping lanes and the broader implications for regional stability remain critical concerns.

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