US missiles destroy Houthi radar sites on Yemen coast

 

 

The U.S. launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast in response to the missiles that were fired at U.S. warships in the last five days.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement that the sites were destroyed. The USS Nitze launched the missiles.

The strikes marked the first shots fired by the U.S. in anger against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen’s long-running civil war. Officials haven’t provided information on casualties from the U.S. missiles fired early Thursday.

Cook said President Barack Obama authorized the strikes at the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. He added that these were limited self-defense strikes conducted to protect U.S. personnel, ships and freedom of navigation.

Meanwhile, the state news agency Saba— under Houthis’ control— quoted an unnamed military official as saying that US accusations that a US destroyer had come under attack from areas under control of Houthis were false. He said, “all these claims are totally untrue and that the popular committees (Houthi militias) have nothing to do with such action.”

He added, “such claims are part of the general context of creating false justifications to escalate assaults and cover up the continuous crimes committed by the aggression against the Yemeni people, along with the blockade imposed on it, and after the increasing condemnations to such barbaric and hideous crimes against Yemenis.”

Sharaf loqman, spokesman for the Yemeni army, called it an “American farce to find a reason to interfere in Yemen directly after failure of the Saudis.”

He said that the army never targets ships outside the territorial waters and only those that enter the Yemeni waters come under attack.

A U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday that another missile was fired from Houthi-held territory in Yemen targeting the USS Mason. The warship was not hit and there were no injuries.

The incident Wednesday evening unfolded not far from where two missiles were fired at the USS Mason and the USS Ponce on Sunday.

The missile attacks came on the heels of two other attacks against Saudi sites. A ballistic missile fired from Yemen apparently targeted a Saudi air base near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the deepest strike yet into the kingdom by Shiite rebels and their allies. The rebels fired another two missiles into the Saudi Jizan region along the border on Monday, wounding two foreigners who worked there, the local civil defense said in a statement.

The Houthis and their allies have offered no reason for the launches, though they came after a Saudi-led airstrike targeting a funeral in Yemen’s capital killed more than 140 people and wounded 525 on Saturday.

The U.S. cruise missile launches come as U.S. considers withdrawing its support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis following Saturday’s airstrike on the funeral and other troubling incidents of civilian casualties as a result of the Saudi bombing campaign.

Human rights groups have expressed outrage over the deaths and accused the U.S. of complicity, leading the White House to say it was conducting a “review” to ensure U.S. cooperation with longtime partner Saudi Arabia is in line with “U.S. principles, values and interests.”

The last missile attack on a U.S. Naval ship was on the USS Stark in May 1987, which was in the middle of a six-month patrol in the Persian Gulf when it was hit by two missiles fired from an Iraqi fighter plane. A total of 37 sailors were killed during the attack.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Kara Rowland and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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