US successfully strikes Houthi anti-aircraft missile inside Yemen, official says

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A U.S. official tells Fox News the U.S. struck a Houthi anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile that was preparing to launch from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen Wednesday afternoon Yemen time. 

This is the first time the U.S. has struck an anti-aircraft missile in Yemen and the 11th time the U.S. has carried out a strike against a Houthi target since Jan. 11.

The surface-to-air missile was on the ground and “posed an imminent threat” to U.S. aircraft patrolling the area, the U.S. official said. It was successfully destroyed. 

F-18 fighter jet takes off

F-18 fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in air strikes on Houthi forces in Yemen on Jan. 22, 2023. The U.S. on Wednesday struck a Houthi anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile that was preparing to launch from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen, a U.S. official tells Fox News. (CENTCOM/X)

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It was not immediately clear how the anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile was struck.

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The strike comes after the Iran-backed Houthis, which the U.S. recently relisted as a terrorist group, fired a ballistic missile toward the USS Carney in the Gulf of Aden on Friday. 

The projectile was “successfully shot down” by the American destroyer and there were no reports of injuries, according to CENTCOM. 

Houthi fighters

Houthi fighters stage a rally against the U.S. government near Sanaa, Yemen, on Thursday, Jan. 25. (AP/Osamah Abdulrahman)

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The Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea for weeks as a show of support for Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war. 

The attacks have seen ship volumes plummet in the area with 39% fewer vessels passing through the canal than at the start of December, leading to a 45% decline in freight tonnage.

USS Carney in Suez Canal

The USS Carney travels through the Suez Canal on Oct. 18, 2023. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/Reuters)

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The strike also comes days after three U.S. service members were killed and at least 40 others were injured in a drone attack on an outpost in northeast Jordan near the Syrian border as tensions in the region escalate.

President Biden on Tuesday indicated he had decided on how to respond after three U.S. soldiers were killed in a drone attack. The U.S. attributed the drone attack to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias that includes the militant group Kataib Hezbollah.

Speaking to reporters at the White House before leaving for a campaign event in Florida on Tuesday, the president said yes when asked if he had decided on a response, but he did not offer any details.

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