The U.S. initiated new strikes against Yemen’s Houthis, with President Biden indicating they will continue until the Iranian-backed rebels cease targeting ships in the Red Sea.
U.S. forces have conducted multiple airstrikes against the Houthis, following an initial barrage by the United States and Britain last Friday, contributing to heightened tensions in the Middle East.
Biden, running for reelection in November, acknowledged that the Western airstrikes have not effectively deterred Houthi attacks on international shipping.
“When you say ‘working, are they stopping the Houthi?’ No. Are they going to continue? Yes,” Biden told reporters at the White House when asked if the strikes were working.
The White House declared the most recent attacks shortly after Biden’s statement.
“We did it again this morning, striking at… a couple of anti-ship missiles that we had reason to believe were being prepared for imminent fire into the southern Red Sea,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) stated that missiles located in a Houthi-controlled region of Yemen presented an “imminent threat” to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the area.
“US forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defense,” it said in a statement.
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh informed reporters that the recent strikes were conducted by US Navy warplanes. She mentioned that the air raids initiated against the Houthis last week have successfully weakened and significantly disrupted a substantial portion of their capabilities.
On Wednesday, the United States reclassified the Houthis as a “terrorist” group and conducted strikes on 14 Houthi missiles. The objective is to diminish the rebels’ capacity to execute missile and drone attacks on international shipping in one of the globe’s most heavily trafficked maritime routes.
Controlling a significant portion of war-torn Yemen, the Houthis persist in targeting international shipping despite US and British airstrikes. Most recently, they struck a US-owned bulk cargo carrier.
The Western strikes in Yemen have heightened concerns about escalating tensions in the region, following Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel and Israel’s subsequent offensive in Gaza.