US forces launch self-defense strike on Houthis, accuse group of presenting ‘an imminent threat’ in Red Sea

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The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that its forces conducted a self-defense strike against Houthi forces early Sunday morning.

In a statement published on X Sunday evening, CENTCOM explained that American forces “struck four anti-ship cruise missiles, all of which were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.”

“U.S. forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” CENTCOM’s statement read.

“These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels.”

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A strike launched from a naval ship

A missile is launched from a warship during the U.S.-led coalition operation against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.  (U.S. Central Command)

Earlier on Sunday, CENTCOM published video showing U.S. forces supporting joint strikes against Iranian-backed Houthi militants on Saturday.

The video showed rockets launching from the ships in pitch-black darkness. The efforts were part of joint strikes against the Houthis, which included support from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Bahrain, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

CENTCOM said that the Saturday strikes were launched from the USS Carney, the USS Gravely and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Houthi rebels

Armed rebels of the Iran-backed Houthi militia take part in a demonstration against the USA and Israel, amid growing tensions between the USA and the Houthis following the latter’s several operations in the Red Sea.  (Osamah Yahya/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Since the Israel-Hamas war escalated in the fall, Houthis have routinely attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

On Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the recent counter-strikes are aimed to “degrade the capabilities” of the Houthis.

“These strikes are intended to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilizing attacks against U.S. and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea,” Austin said in a statement on Saturday.

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Secretary Lloyd Austin

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin participates in a meeting with Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto at the Pentagon on June 23, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“This collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels,” he added. 

Fox News Digital’s Bradford Betz and Louis Casiano contributed to this report. 

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