US fighter jets strike underground Houthi storage sites in Yemen

CENTCOM says American forces also destroyed UAVs in areas controlled by the Iran-backed rebels, intercepted missiles fired toward Red Sea

A plume of smoke rises after a reported airstrike in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on March 22, 2024. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)
A plume of smoke rises after a reported airstrike in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on March 22, 2024. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

The US military said Friday it had struck three underground storage facilities used by Yemen’s Houthis, as the Iran-backed rebels continue to launch attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

According to a US official, the strikes were carried out by fighter jets that took off from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, which is in the Red Sea.

Strikes and explosions were seen and heard in Sanaa on Friday night, according to witnesses and videos, some circulating on social media. Footage showed explosions and smoke rising over the Houthi-controlled capital.

There was no official confirmation of the injured or the origin of the explosions. Yemeni TV station Al-Masirah, which is linked to the Houthis, reported strikes hitting the city.

In a statement late Friday, US Central Command said its forces also destroyed four unmanned aerial vehicles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

Central Command also said Houthis fired four anti-ship ballistic missiles toward the Red Sea, but no injuries or damage were reported by US, coalition or commercial ships.

The head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, said earlier there had been “reckless” US-British attacks on Yemen. The Houthi-run Saba News Agency said US and British aircraft had launched five raids on Hodeidah, the area where Yemen’s main port is located.

A Yemeni lifts a placard with the slogan of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels written in English, during a march held in the capital Sanaa, March 22, 2024. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

The Houthis, who are allied with Iran and control much of the country’s north and west, have launched a campaign of drone and missile attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, which the rebels describe as an effort to pressure Israel to end its war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Houthis have kept up their campaign of attacks despite two months of US-led airstrikes. The attacks have sent insurance costs spiraling for vessels transiting the Red Sea and prompted many shipping firms to take the far longer passage around the southern tip of Africa instead.

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