(WASHINGTON) — U.S. military forces early Thursday morning conducted what Central Command called a “self-defense” strike against Houthi unmanned aerial vehicles and a ground control station.
According to Centcom, the U.S. had identified a UAV ground control station and a number of UAVs in the Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. The military “determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region.”
As a result, Centcom said, U.S. forces hit the UAV station, destroying it. Ten one-way UAVs were struck in self-defense, it said.
“This action will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels,” Centcom said in announcing the news.
As part of efforts to stop Iran-backed Houthi militants from attacking vital Middle Eastern shipping lanes, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced earlier this month that the U.S. would once again classify the Yemeni rebel group as a terrorist organization. The State Department says the step will enable the U.S. to more effectively restrict the group’s access to financial support.
Blinken said that the restrictions and penalties linked to the designation would not take effect for 30 days and that the delay was designed to ensure the flow of aid and commercial goods to Yemeni civilians is minimally impacted.
There have been more than 150 rocket and drone attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since mid-October carried out by Iranian-backed militias claiming they are in support of Palestinians in the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza.
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