For the sixth time in 10 days, the United States on Friday said it had destroyed Houthi missiles in Yemen that were poised to attack merchant and military vessels in the Red Sea, a pattern of strikes that the White House says will continue for the foreseeable future to weaken the militia group.
The U.S. military hit three Houthi missiles and launchers, John F. Kirby, a spokesman for National Security Council, told reporters on Friday. He did not say what weapons the United States had deployed in the attack, but previous strikes have used cruiser missiles and munitions dropped by fighter jets.
The strikes — the fourth U.S. salvo in as many days — have so far failed to deter the Houthis from attacking shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, going to and from the Suez Canal, that are critical for global trade. The Iran-backed group says it will keep up its attacks in what it says is a protest against Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip against Hamas.
President Biden said on Thursday that U.S. airstrikes against the Houthis will continue even though they have not halted the group’s attacks on Red Sea shipping. “Are they stopping the Houthis? No,” Mr. Biden said. “Are they going to continue? Yes.”
Last Thursday, American and British attack planes and warships attacked more than 60 Houthi targets, including air defenses, command hubs and facilities to store and launch anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles, as well as drones.
But the U.S. officials cautioned on Saturday that even after hitting more Houthi missile and drone targets with more than 150 precision-guided munitions, the strikes had damaged or destroyed only about 20 to 30 percent of the Houthis’ offensive capability, much of which is mounted on mobile platforms and can be readily moved or hidden.