U.S. and Houthis continue to trade fire in and off the coast of Yemen

Over the past three days, the Houthis have launched anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles as well as drones in three separate attacks. One of the Houthi missiles came dangerously close to striking a U.S. warship before it was shot down. The U.S. military countered with two strikes aimed at degrading the Houthis ability to launch missiles and drones at both merchant and war ships traveling in the Red Sea, the Bab al Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.

Today, the U.S. military launched what it called a “self-defense strike” against “Iran-backed Houthi UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] ground control station and 10 Houthi one-way UAVs,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported. The Houthis also launched a series of attacks including an uncrewed surface vehicle that was launched in the Red Sea which was destroyed by CENTCOM forces, two two anti-ship ballistics that were launched at the Mechant Vessel Koi but impacted in the sea, and another unmanned aerial vehicle which was shot down over the Gulf of Aden.

The strike on the Houthi ground control station was preceded by Houthi missile and drone attacks on the USS Carney as it patrolled in the Gulf of Aden on Jan. 31. The Carney shot down the anti-ship ballistic missile using its Close-In Weapons System, the last line of defense for the destroyer. The missile was shot down within a mile from the Carney. In a separate engagement, the Carney shot down three Houthi drones. The same day, CENTCOM destroyed a Houthi surface to air missile that was deemed a threat to aircraft in the area.

On Jan. 30, the USS Gravely shot down a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile that was launched towards the Red Sea. It remains unclear if the Gravely or another ship was the target of the Houthi missile.

The U.S. and U.K. militaries, with a small amount of countries, have launched three strikes against Houthi military assets since Jan. 11 in an effort to “degrade Houthi capability” to attack ships in the Red Sea, Bab Al Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. The U.S. military has also launched a series of unilateral strikes against Houthi military targets. However the Houthis have not been deterred from launching attacks against ships off the coast of Yemen.

Despite the incessant attacks by the Houthis, which as part of Iran’s Axis of Resistance is playing its part to drive the U.S. from the Middle East and deal a defeat to Israel, the Biden administration continues to insist it is not at war with Iran. in Iraq and Syria, including one last weekend that resulted in the death of three American soldiers. In a Press conference today, Secretary of State Lloyd Austin reiterated this point, while describing Houthi attacks as “very irresponsible and illegal.” The Axis of Resistance has launched 160 Iranian proxy militia attacks against U.S. forces

“We’re not at war with — with Iran. And yeah, the Houthis continue to do some things that are very irresponsible and illegal,” Austin said.

Austin also pleaded with Iran to “to quit — or to cease supplying the Houthis with — with these advanced conventional weapons that they’ve used to attack ships in the — in the Red Sea and the Bab Al Mandeb.”

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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