US warships operating in the Red Sea in a photo posted on December 31, 2023. Photo: CENTCOM

The US announced that it had destroyed two anti-ship missiles of the Houthi forces in Yemen before the armed group launched them into the Red Sea.

“On January 18, our forces attacked the location of two Houthi anti-ship missiles while they were aiming towards the Southern Red Sea area and preparing to leave the launch pad,” Central Command said. America (CENCTOM) said today.

This agency affirmed that this was a “self-defense attack” to protect US cargo ships and warships in the sea against an “existential threat.” “We destroyed two missiles,” CENTCOM said.

On the same day, Houthi forces announced that they had launched missiles at the US cargo ship Chem Ranger in the Red Sea, emphasizing that the ship had been hit by “many direct hits”. “The raids by the US and UK must definitely be responded to. Any new aggressive actions by them will be punished,” this force warned.

According to Marine Traffic, the Chem Ranger ship, flying the Marshall Islands flag, is on its way from the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Kuwait.

Maritime security company Ambrey said on the same day that a cargo ship flying the flag of the Marshall Islands was approached by many unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in waters about 160 km southeast of Yemen’s Aden city. A UAV crashed about 30 meters from the ship after an Indian warship arrived to assist. “There were no casualties or damage due to the incident,” Ambrey said.

The agency also said a US-owned oil tanker was approached and surrounded by four UAVs in an area about 140 km southeast of Yemen’s Mukalla city, but did not provide further details.

Tensions in the Red Sea region have recently increased in the context of US and British forces recently conducting many raids on targets of Houthi forces in response to the group’s attacks on cargo ships and warships. America in the Red Sea. Houthis claimed this was an action to show solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Houthi raids caused many shipping companies to stop sending ships on the route through the Red Sea, instead moving around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. This significantly increases the journey time and cost of freight trains.

US President Joe Biden on January 18 admitted that retaliatory raids by the US and UK have not been able to stop Houthi forces from attacking cargo ships in the Red Sea, but affirmed that the coalition will continue to target the armed group. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously announced that Washington had placed the Houthis on the list of terrorist organizations but affirmed that the decision could be reversed if this force stopped attacking cargo ships. According to the US State Department, the above move allows this country’s officials to limit Houthi’s financial access more effectively.