US forces carry out more strikes against anti-ship cruise missiles, drone in Red Sea

 The US military launched further strikes against anti-ship cruise missiles and a drone in the Red Sea on Thursday evening, the Central Command said.

CENTCOM forces conducted two self-defense strikes against six mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared for launch towards the Red Sea between 6 and 7:15 pm. local time.

Earlier in the evening, CENTCOM forces shot down a drone over the southern Red Sea in self-defense, CENTCOM said.

"CENTCOM forces determined that the missiles and UAVs present an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy vessels in the area," the command said. "These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer for U.S. naval and merchant vessels."

The statement comes as Yemen-based Houthi militants continued a series of attacks on ships in the Red Sea over Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The ongoing attacks have caused massive delays and commercial ships have had to pay additional fees to divert their ships.

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Earlier this week, a rocket exploded off the side of a ship sailing through the Red Sea. The British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Centre, which oversees shipping in the Middle East, said the attack occurred about 70 miles off the coast of the Houthi-held port city of Hodeida. It said the rocket exploded several miles away from the ship.

"The crew and vessel are said to be safe and are proceeding to the next port of call," UKMTO said.

Private security firm Ambre said the ship targeted appeared to be a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier in the area at the time. Embrey said another ship, a Panama-flagged, Emirates-owned chemical tanker, was also nearby.

Meanwhile, the US military's Central Command said an American and an allied warship shot down five Houthi bomb-carrying drones in the Red Sea on Tuesday night.

Last week, Houthi rebels seriously damaged a ship in a key strait and shot down a US drone worth millions of dollars. The Houthis insist that their attacks will continue until Israel ceases its combat operations in the Gaza Strip, which angered the wider Arab world and brought international recognition to the Houthis.

The Houthis, a Zaydi Shia group, took control of Yemen's capital in 2014 and have been fighting the Saudi-led coalition since 2015. His Zaidi people ruled Yemen for 1,000 years until 1962.

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