THE RED SEA- Three coastal radar sites in Yemen came under Tomahawk missile attack from the destroyer USS Nitze at about 4 a.m. in retaliation for unsuccessful attacks on U.S. military vessels this week.
The missiles targeted locations north of the Bab el-Mandeb strait, said Pentagon Press Peter Cook. President Barack Obama authorized the strikes upon the recommendations of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Stars and Stripes reports, “These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway,” Cook said. “The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world.”
The strikes were announced late Wednesday in Washington. A defense official said the radar sites were in remote areas held by Houthi rebels where there was little risk of civilian casualties. The equipment was set up near Ras Isa, north of Mukha and near Khoka. All are on Yemen’s western coastline.
The Tomahawk strikes followed cruise missiles attacks that were launched against Navy ships on Sunday night and Wednesday in Yemen. Another missile launched Oct. 1 caused near-catastrophic damage to the HSV-2 Swift, a catamaran-style high-speed vessel that was operated by the Emiratis and once was a part of the U.S. Navy. Video of the strike published online shows the ship engulfed in a fireball.
The Houthis, who use weapons smuggled from Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Swift, but denied launching missiles at the Navy on Sunday. But Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday that “the facts certainly point” to the Houthis being involved.