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US takes out three ready-to-fire Houthi missile sites

The USS Carney fires at Houthi attackers in the Red Sea in December.

The USS Carney fires at Houthi attackers in the Red Sea in December. Photo: AAP

US forces have destroyed three Houthi anti-ship missiles and their launchers as launch crews prepared to target Red Sea shipping, the Pentagon has said.

“US forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region. US forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defense,” the US Central Command said in the post on X, formerly Twitter.

The incident, the latest amid growing tensions in the Red Sea that have disrupted global trade and raised fears of supply bottlenecks, took place around 6.45pm Yemen time on Friday, the US Central Command added.

Attacks by the Iran-aligned Houthi militia on ships in and around the Red Sea for the past several weeks have slowed trade between Asia and Europe and alarmed major powers in an escalation of the war in Gaza.

US steps up attacks

The Houthis, who control the most populous part of Yemen, say their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians under attack from Israel in Gaza.

Since last week, the US has been launching strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, and this week returned the militia to a list of “terrorist” groups.

President Joe Biden, who removed the group’s terror designation within days of taking office, said on Thursday that air strikes would continue even as he acknowledged they may not be halting the Houthi attacks.

The confrontation risks an expansion of the conflict beyond Hamas-governed Gaza, where the local health ministry says more than 24,000 people – or more than 1 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3 million population – have been killed in Israel’s assault.

Israel launched its offensive following October 7 attacks on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group, which killed 1200 people.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said Friday’s strikes were the fourth in the past week by the US military against Houthi missile launchers that were prepared to launch attacks.

The Houthis launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles at a US-owned tanker ship late on Thursday that hit the water near the vessel but caused no injuries or damage, according to the US military.

-with AAP

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