Tampa, Florida, U.S. (diplomat.so) - In the ongoing collaborative efforts to safeguard freedom of navigation and counter potential threats to U.S. and allied maritime traffic in the Red Sea, U.S. Central Command forces executed precision strikes on the night of January 17, at approximately 11:59 p.m. (Sanaa time). The operation targeted 14 Iran-backed Houthi missiles that were loaded and poised for launch in Houthi-controlled areas within Yemen.
The U.S. Central Command emphasized that these missiles, positioned on launch rails, posed an immediate and tangible threat to both merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships operating in the region. Given the imminent danger, U.S. forces exercised their inherent right and obligation to self-defense by conducting the strikes, preventing a potential attack that could have been launched at any moment.
General Michael Erik Kurilla, Commander of U.S. Central Command, condemned the actions of the Iranian-backed Houthi, stressing their continuous endangerment of international mariners and disruption of commercial shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. He affirmed the commitment to taking necessary actions to protect innocent lives at sea and ensure the safety of U.S. personnel, highlighting the broader objective of degrading Houthi capabilities to deter further reckless attacks on international and commercial shipping in the region.