Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 6 News List

US strikes Houthi rebel targets in Yemen: Pentagon

ADAMANT:The ‘limited self-defense strikes’ were aimed at protecting the US’ freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb, the Pentagon said


The US yesterday bombed three radar sites controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen, the first direct US strike against the group following attacks against US warships last week, the Pentagon said.

US President Barack Obama authorized the Tomahawk cruise missile strikes, which were launched at 4am by the destroyer USS Nitze against Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, a US official said.

“Initial assessments show the sites were destroyed,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

The strikes “targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb,” it said. “These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway.”

The USS Mason, a destroyer, was targeted on Wednesday. The missile fired from rebel-held territory crashed into the ocean before reaching its target.

The Mason and the USS Ponce, an amphibious staging base, were previously targeted on Sunday by two missiles that also fell short.

“The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb and elsewhere around the world,” Cook said.

The US is backing a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed rebels and the forces of former Yemeni president Ali Abdallah Saleh.

The US military provides intelligence and refueling for Arab coalition aircraft conducting airstrikes against the rebels. It also supplies advanced munitions and logistics support to the Saudi-led war effort, and is the kingdom’s biggest arms supplier.

However, US air forces are not directly involved in strikes in Yemen, which are increasingly criticized by the international community for their devastating impact on civilians.

After a deadly airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition on a funeral in Yemen on Saturday last week that killed more than 140 people, the US administration announced an “immediate review” of its cooperation.

In related news, Iran yesterday sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, establishing a military presence in waters off Yemen.

“Iran’s Alvand and Bushehr warships have been dispatched to the Gulf of Aden to protect trade vessels from piracy,” Tasnim reported.

Tasnim said the Iranian ships will patrol the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen.

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