US military says anti-ship missiles, drones hit in Yemen strikes

The US military have said that it had destroyed nine anti-ship ballistic missiles and two drones in Yemen after Huthi rebels fired on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) said two missiles fired by the Huthi rebels towards the Red Sea and two towards the Gulf of Aden had caused no damage or injuries.

It said the strikes on the missiles and drones in Yemen were made “to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer” for US Navy and merchant vessels.

“It was determined these weapons presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region,” CENTCOM said late Thursday on social media platform X.

The Iran-backed Huthis have been attacking ships in the region since November in what they say is solidarity with Palestinians during Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

A UK maritime agency also said Thursday that the master of a vessel sailing southwest of the Yemeni port of Hudaydah had reported two missiles flying overheard and “heard two loud blasts in the distance”.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said the ship reported no damage and that its crew was safe.

That followed a similar incident earlier on Thursday when another vessel southeast of Aden reported an explosion astern that also caused no damage or injuries.

It was not immediately clear if the two incidents were those referred to in the CENTCOM statement.

The Huthi attacks have sent insurance costs spiralling for vessels plying the key trade route and prompted many shipping firms to take the far longer passage around the southern tip of Africa instead.

The United States and Britain have launched repeated strikes on Huthi targets in Yemen in response but the attacks against what the rebels say are Israeli-linked ships have not been deterred.