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U.S. launches another strike on Houthi rebels in Yemen

Houthis vow to continue attacks after strikes
Houthis vow to continue Red Sea attacks after U.S.-led strikes 04:31

American forces conducted another airstrike on a Houthi-controlled site in Yemen early Saturday, U.S. officials confirmed.

U.S. Central Command reported that the USS Carney, a destroyer, conducted the strike at 3:45 a.m. local time Saturday on a Houthi radar site using Tomahawk missiles. No further details were provided, although Associated Press journalists in Sanaa, Yemen's capital, heard one loud explosion.

The airstrike came just a day after the U.S. and U.K. launched strikes on dozens of targets in Houthi-controlled Yemen in response to the Iranian-backed rebel group's ongoing assault targeting shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday's strikes used more than 150 precision-guided munition to hit nearly 30 locations. CENTCOM said the strikes targeted "command and control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems."

US, UK carry out airstrikes in Yemen
A view from the U.S. naval fleet as the U.S. and U.K. carried out airstrikes on Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Jan. 12, 2024. U.S. Central Command/Anadolu via Getty Images

A Houthi military spokesperson said Friday's attacks left at least five people dead and six wounded.

Despite the airstrikes, the Houthi movement's Supreme Political Council vowed Friday to continue targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea. Thousands of demonstrators turned out in Sanaa Friday, burning U.S. flags and chanting "God is great, death to America, death to Israel." 

President Biden indicated to reporters Friday that the U.S. would fight back if Houthis retaliate.

"We will make sure to respond to the Houthis as they continue this outrageous behavior along with our allies," Biden said while conducting a small business tour in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

In a joint statement earlier Friday, the U.S., U.K., Australia, Bahrain, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, said the strikes were in response to "continued illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi attacks against vessels, including commercial shipping, transiting the Red Sea."

Since Nov. 19, there have been at least 28 attacks from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, according to CENTCOM. The attacks have prompted several giant shipping companies to avoid the Suez Canal and transit around all of Africa instead.  

On Jan. 9, Houthi rebels launched their largest such attack yet. A total of 18 drones, two-antiship cruise missiles and one anti-ship ballistic missile were successfully shot down by U.S. and U.K. forces patrolling the Red Sea, with no injuries or damage.

The White House last month accused Tehran of being "deeply involved" in the Houthi's Red Sea attacks, an allegation Iran's deputy foreign minister denied

However, the U.S. government confirmed that Iranian forces directly seized an oil tanker off the coast of Oman Thursday which was carrying U.S.-sanctioned crude oil. That same vessel had been seized by U.S. authorities last year. 

The Biden administration has focused on preventing the Israel-Hamas conflict from turning into a wider regional war across the Middle East, but since the war started, Iranian-backed proxies have been launching attacks both in the Red Sea and against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. 

There have been at least 130 attacks by Iranian-backed militias on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, including at least three since Monday. 

Eleanor Watson, Jordan Freiman, Tucker Reals and Charlie D'Agata contributed to this report. 

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