US forces strike 2 Houthi anti-ship missiles, two defense officials say

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U.S. forces conducted strikes on two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were being prepared to launch, two U.S. defense officials confirmed to Fox News. 

This is the fifth round of strikes against the Houthis since the U.S. and U.K.-led coalition strikes last Thursday.  

“As part of ongoing multi-national efforts to protect freedom of navigation and prevent attacks on maritime vessels in the Red Sea, on Jan. 18 U.S. Central Command forces conducted strikes on two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed into the Southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

“U.S. forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen at approximately 3:40 p.m. (Sanaa time) and determined they were an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defense,” the military said. 

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Sanctions Yemen War

President Biden told reporters military strikes on the Houthis will continue until they stop attacking ships in the Red Sea.  (Getty Images)

President Biden said Thursday that U.S. military strikes against the Iran-backed Yemeni group will continue as long it continues to attack ships in the Red Sea.

“When you say working, are they stopping the Houthis, no. Are they going to continue, yes,” Biden told reporters before departing from the White House for a domestic policy speech in North Carolina.

The U.S. military fired another wave of ship- and submarine-launch missile strikes against Houthi-controlled sites on Wednesday, marking the fourth time in days it has directly targeted the group in Yemen as violence that ignited in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war continues to spill over in the Middle East.

The strikes were launched from the Red Sea and hit 14 missiles that the command deemed an “imminent threat.”

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Damage to M/V Genco Picardy

The M/V Genco Picardy suffered a fire following the attack by the Houthis on Wednesday. (Indian Navy)

The State Department relisted the Houthis as a terrorist organization earlier this week in response to ongoing attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea. 

The Houthis will be placed on the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list, which will trigger sanctions designed to prevent further attacks on global trade in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, senior administration officials said.  

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Houthi fighters rally against US

Houthi fighters and tribesmen stage a rally against the U.S. and the U.K. strikes on Houthi-run military sites near Sanaa, Yemen, on Sunday. (AP)

“Since November, the Houthis have launched unprecedented attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as military forces positioned in the area to defend the safety and security of commercial shipping,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “These attacks against international shipping have endangered mariners, disrupted the free flow of commerce, and interfered with navigational rights and freedoms.” 

Blinken added that the designation of the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group “seeks to promote accountability for the group’s terrorist activities” and “if the Houthis cease their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the United States will reevaluate this designation.” 

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The Houthi attacks on commercial ships have not stopped even after the U.S. and the United Kingdom launched strikes against Houthi assets in Yemen. The group said the attacks served as a response to Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

Fox News’ Liz Friden, Fox News Digital’s Greg Norman, Peter Aitken and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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