US targets Houthi radar sites in Yemen after sailor goes missing

Photo: Bloomberg (representative image)

The US military unleashed a wave of attacks on radar sites controlled by Yemen’s Houthi rebels over their attacks on shipping in the crucial Red Sea corridor, authorities said on Saturday, after a merchant ship went missing following an earlier Houthi attack on a ship.

The attacks come as the US Navy faces the most intense fighting it has seen since World War II in an effort to counter Houthi campaign attacks that the rebels say are aimed at fueling the war between Israel and stop Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, the Houthis’ Iran-backed rebel attacks often target ships and sailors unrelated to the war, while traffic remains halved through a corridor essential for cargo and energy transport between Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

US strikes destroyed seven radars within Houthi-controlled territory, the military’s Central Command said. It did not elaborate on how the sites were destroyed and did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.

These radars allow the Houthis to target maritime vessels and endanger commercial shipping, the Central Command said in a statement.

The US separately destroyed two bomb-laden drone boats in the Red Sea, as well as a drone launched by the Houthis over the waterway, the report said.

The Houthis, who have controlled Yemen’s capital Sanaa since 2014, did not acknowledge the strikes or any military losses. This has been common since the US started air strikes on the rebels.

Meanwhile, the Central Command said a commercial sailor from the Greece-owned Liberian-flagged bulk cargo ship Tutor remained missing after an attack Wednesday by the Houthis, in which a bomb-carrying drone boat was used to attack the vessel.

The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by the USS Philippine Sea and partner forces, Central Command said. The Tutor remains in the Red Sea and slowly absorbs water.

The Houthis have carried out more than 50 attacks on shipping since November, killing three sailors, seizing one ship and sinking another, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration. A US-led air campaign has targeted the Houthis since January. A series of attacks on May 30 killed at least 16 people and injured 42 others, rebels say.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war in the Gaza Strip, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank, according to Gaza health officials. It started after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage.

The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza, yet they target and threaten the lives of third-country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza, Central Command said. The continued threat to international trade posed by the Houthis actually makes it more difficult to provide much-needed aid to the people of Yemen and Gaza.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

First print: June 15, 2024 | 11:25 am IST