US launches more 'self-defense' strikes targeting Houthi cruise missiles in Yemen
The U.S. launched attacks on Houthi rebels Thursday, this time targeting four unmanned surface vessels and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles prepared to launch into Red Sea.
The U.S. launched "self-defense" strikes against four Houthi unmanned surface vessels (USV) and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles prepared to launch into the Red Sea, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced.
In a post on the social media platform X, CENTCOM said cruise missiles were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.
"CENTCOM identified these missiles and USVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region," the post read. "These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels."
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have launched 48 attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since Nov. 19.
Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters on Thursday that since the first coalition strikes on Jan. 11, U.S. forces have destroyed or degraded over 100 missiles and launchers, including anti-ship land attack and surface-to-air missiles, numerous communication capabilities, unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned surface vessels, coastal radars, air surveillance capabilities and weapons storage areas.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to inquiries from Fox News Digital on the strikes.
While these self-defense strikes against Houthis and other Iranian-backed proxies continue, the U.S. continues to claim it is not looking for a war.
"I will repeat again, that the U.S. does not want escalation and that these strikes are directly in response to the actions by the Iranian-backed Houthis," Ryder said. "Again, however, we will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most vital waterways."
Earlier this week, CENTCOM published a video showing U.S. forces supporting joint strikes against Houthi militants.
The video showed rockets launching from the ships in pitch-black darkness. The efforts were part of joint strikes against the Houthis, which included support from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Bahrain, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
CENTCOM said that the Saturday strikes were launched by USS Carney, USS Gravely and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the recent counterstrikes are aimed to "degrade the capabilities" of the Houthis.
"These strikes are intended to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilizing attacks against U.S. and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea," Austin said in a statement on Saturday.
"This collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels," he added.
Fox News Digital's Liz Friden and Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.