US forces destroy Houthi radars in Yemen that allowed Iranian-backed group to target commercial ships, CENTCOM says

US forces launched successful attacks late this week on Houthi radars that helped facilitate the Iranian-backed group’s ongoing assaults on ships in the Red Sea, according to US Central Command.

CENTCOM said the US military destroyed seven radars in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, which had allowed “Houthis to target maritime vessels and endanger commercial shipping.”

The strikes followed a Wednesday Houthi attack on a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated ship that left one civilian mariner missing.

The attack on the ship caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room, CENTCOM said. The crew abandoned ship and was rescued by US and partner forces, including the USS Philippine Sea.

The cargo ship is still in the Red Sea and is taking on water, CENTCOM said. The ship is drifting from its last reported position, according to the UK Maritime Trade Operations.

In addition to the attacks on the radars, US forces destroyed one uncrewed aerial system launched from Yemen and two uncrewed surface vessels in the Red Sea, according to the CENTCOM statement.

The Houthis have launched dozens of missile and drone attacks directed at ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since Israel launched its invasion of Gaza following Hamas’ October 7 attack.

On Thursday, Iran-backed Houthi militants struck another cargo ship, the M/V Verbena, in two separate missile attacks in the Gulf of Aden, severely injuring a civilian mariner and causing fires on board, according to CENTCOM. The wounded mariner from the M/V Verbena was medically evacuated by aircraft from a nearby US warship.

Two days later, the crew issued a distress call indicating it was abandoning the ship “due to continued fires and an inability to control them,” CENTCOM said Saturday. Another commercial ship responded to the distress signal and is transporting the mariners to safety. Notably, the Iranian frigate IRIN Jamaran was 8 nautical miles from the M/V Verbena and did not respond to the distress call, CENTCOM said in a statement on X.

“This continued reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” CENTCOM said in a statement earlier this week. “The ongoing threat to international commerce caused by the Houthis in fact makes it harder to deliver badly needed assistance to the people of Yemen as well as Gaza.”

The US and UK have carried out several rounds of strikes against the Houthis in Yemen, including as recently as last week, to try to degrade their weapons supplies. But the Houthis have shown no signs of halting their attacks.

“The United States will continue to act with partners to hold the Houthis accountable and degrade their military capabilities,” CENTCOM said.

This story has been updated with new reporting.

CNN’s Philip Wang contributed to this report.

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