JERUSALEM —A tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East, U.S. warships are busy responding to threats.
Between 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Sanaa time) Thursday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted seven self-defense strikes against four Houthi unmanned surface vessels (USV) and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that 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.
Meanwhile, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels said his forces will keep up their monthslong campaign of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea over Israel’s war in Gaza against Hamas.
"Food, medicine and humanitarian air should reach all different parts of Gaza. If not, we will carry on our operations,” said Abdel Malek al-Houthi, a Yemeni politician who serves as the leader of the Iran-backed rebel movement, in a televised speech Thursday.
The war in Gaza has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, and northern areas remain largely cut off from humanitarian aid.
Al-Houthi said the U.S. and British militaries had launched a total of 86 air and naval strikes on Yemen this week.
However, al-Houthi said the retaliatory strikes would not achieve their intended goal of disabling the group's abilities, and said the attacks were Washington's attempt to save face.
“Carrying on with strikes won’t do the U.S., Britain or Israel any good,” al-Houthi said.
In recent weeks, the U.S. and the U.K., backed by other allies, have launched airstrikes targeting Houthi missile arsenals and launch sites for its attacks.
The barrage of U.S., coalition and militant attacks in the Middle East are compounding fears that Israel’s war in Gaza could escalate into a wider regional conflict.