US forces carried out a fifth strike on the military sites of Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday, as President Joe Biden acknowledged US and British bombing had not yet stopped the militants’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which disrupted global shipping.
The latest strikes destroyed two Houthi anti-ship missiles that “were aimed toward the southern Red Sea and ready for launch,” according to US Central Command. said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. They were carried out by Navy F/A-18 fighter jets, the Pentagon said.
Biden said the United States would continue its strikes, although so far it has not stopped the Houthis from continuing to harass commercial and military ships.
“When you say working, are they stopping the Houthis, no. Will they continue, yes,” Biden said in an exchange with reporters before leaving the White House for a domestic policy speech in North Carolina.
Biden’s comments follow another round of significant strikes on Wednesday evening, when the US military fired another wave of missile strikes from ships and submarines against 14 Houthi-controlled sites. The strikes were launched from the Red Sea and hit 14 missiles that the command also considered an imminent threat.
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His administration also placed the Houthis back on its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The sanctions that accompany this official designation aim to cut off violent extremist groups from their sources of funding, while also allowing vital humanitarian aid to continue flowing to poor Yemenis.
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Despite sanctions and military strikes, including a large-scale operation by US and British warships and warplanes that hit more than 60 targets across Yemen, the Houthis continue to harass commercial shipping and military. The United States has strongly warned Iran to stop supplying weapons to the Houthis.
“We never said the Houthis would stop immediately,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said at a news briefing when asked why the strikes had not stopped. appeared to stop the Houthis. Since the joint US-British operation began last Friday, hitting 28 sites and more than 60 targets in that first round, Houthi attacks have been “lower in scale”, Singh said.
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For months, the Houthis have claimed attacks on ships in the Red Sea that they say are either linked to Israel or heading to Israeli ports. They say their attacks are aimed at ending the Israeli air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, sparked by the October 7 attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in southern Israel. But ties to ships targeted by rebel attacks have become increasingly tenuous as the attacks continue.
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The attacks also raised questions about whether the conflict between Israel and Hamas has already spilled over into a broader regional war.
“We are not looking for war, we do not think we are at war. We don’t want to see a regional war,” Singh said.
Separately, the United States and its allies launched Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect maritime traffic, and currently warships from the United States, France and the United Kingdom are patrolling the area.
“These strikes will continue for as long as it takes,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday, adding: “I’m not going to telegraph strikes one way or another. “
—Associated Press writers Tara Copp, Lolita C. Baldor and Sagar Meghani contributed to this report.
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