The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits through the Suez Canal in October 2023.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits through the Suez Canal in October 2023. (Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy)

U.S. forces launched strikes against a Houthi militant drone ground control station and 10 one-way attack drones in the latest action to cripple the Iranian-backed group’s ability to fire on ships in the Red Sea.

At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, U.S. forces attacked after identifying the ground control station and drones in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, a U.S. Central Command statement said Thursday. Military officials determined the base and its drones were “an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. ships in the region,” according to CENTCOM, which called the strikes a self-defense measure.

The strikes were carried out by F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The ground control station and drones were destroyed, CENTCOM said.

Hours earlier, a U.S. Navy destroyer shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by Houthi militants, CENTCOM said. USS Carney destroyed the missile at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and then shot down three Iranian-made aerial drones about 40 minutes later, a statement said.

U.S. forces subsequently shot down another aerial drone over the sea and conducted strikes that destroyed an unmanned explosive sea drone heading toward the international shipping lane, CENTCOM said in a separate statement, also on Thursday. The strikes destroyed the sea drone, resulting in significant secondary explosions, CENTCOM said. There were no reported injuries or damage. 

Those actions were followed Thursday by militant attacks on a Liberian-flagged container ship in the Red Sea, AP reported, citing an unnamed U.S. Defense Department official.

In that incident, which happened west of the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeida, the blast came far off the vessel’s right side. The crew and the ship were safe, AP reported.

The Houthis did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.

Since Nov. 19, the militants have targeted more than 36 ships in the Red Sea.

The Houthi fighters have said they are attacking commercial and military shipping in the Red Sea to support Gaza, where war between Israel and Hamas has raged since Oct. 7.

The narrow shipping lanes that pass near Yemen are some of the busiest in the world and Pentagon officials say many ships that have no apparent connection to Israel have been fired upon. On Wednesday, the Houthi militants added in a statement that all U.S. and British warships participating in “aggression” against Yemen are targets, Al Jazeera reported.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials said a Houthi missile targeting the destroyer USS Gravely in the Red Sea on Tuesday came within a mile of the ship, which is the closest a missile has come to a Navy vessel since the Houthis began their attacks, CNN reported Thursday.

The missile was shot down with the ship’s close-in weapons system, a last line of defense, according to the CNN report.

Previously, Houthi missiles have been intercepted at a range of 8-to-10 miles.

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Alison Bath reports on the U.S. Navy, including U.S. 6th Fleet, in Europe and Africa. She has reported for a variety of publications in Montana, Nevada and Louisiana, and served as editor of newspapers in Louisiana, Oregon and Washington.

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