The U.S. military early Tuesday struck and destroyed four Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles that the militants were preparing to launch from Yemen, the Pentagon confirmed.
“These missiles were prepared to launch from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and presented an imminent threat to both merchant and U.S. Navy ships in the region,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
The strikes, which took place at 4:15 a.m. local time, mark the latest action against the Iran-backed group over its attacks targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea.
On Monday, Houthi rebels attacked the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned and operated container ship.
The militants also claimed responsibility for a missile attack Tuesday against the Malta-flagged bulk carrier Zografia in the Red Sea, which took place after the latest U.S. strikes. No injuries were reported.
This is the third round of U.S. strikes against the Houthis within the past week, with Washington and its allies bombing Houthi military targets in Yemen on Thursday and Friday in retaliation for their threats to global trade.
The tit-for-tat strikes have triggered worries about a wider war in the Middle East, as Israeli attacks on Hamas in Gaza continue.
The Houthi rebels first began attacking ships in the region last autumn, attempting to hit commercial boats in the Red Sea about 30 times since Nov. 19. The militants have continued the attacks even as the U.S. military struck the group’s capabilities in Yemen.
And in a Jan. 11 operation, American forces seized advanced Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile and cruise missile components. The mission was revealed after two U.S. Navy SEALs were lost at sea off the coast of Somalia.