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AL-MUKALLA: The US Central Command mentioned on Saturday that it had destroyed quite a few Houthi missiles and explosive-laden remotely operated boats in Yemen because the Yemeni militia rejected America’s ultimatum to stop assaults earlier than its determination to redesignate the Houthis as “international terrorists” takes impact on Feb. 16.

CENTCOM mentioned on X that its forces carried out “self-defense strikes” on Friday, focusing on two explosive-laden Houthi drone boats, 4 anti-ship cruise missiles, and one land-attack cruise missile that have been able to launch towards US Navy and business ships within the Purple Sea.

“These actions will defend freedom of navigation and make worldwide waters safer and safer for the US Navy and service provider vessels,” it added.

Houthi official media mentioned on Friday that the US and the UK carried out two strikes on Baqoum district within the northern province of Saada, the militia’s stronghold, however made no point out of any assaults on their naval forces. 

Since Jan. 12, the US and the UK have carried out dozens of strikes on Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, focusing on radar stations, missile and drone launchers, navy websites, ammunition depots, and different places — assaults that the 2 international locations say are supposed to degrade Houthi navy energy and drive the group to cease their assaults within the Purple Sea.

The brand new spherical of bombings got here because the Houthis ignored Washington’s request to finish their Purple Sea operations by Feb. 16, earlier than the terror-designation determination is because of come into impact.

Stephen Fagin, US ambassador to Yemen, mentioned earlier that the US would take away the Houthis’ terrorist label if the Yemeni militia stopped attacking ships within the Purple Sea and the Gulf of Aden by Friday.

“The designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group will take impact Feb. 16, however it may be reviewed if the Houthi militia ceases their actions within the Purple Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” Fagin mentioned on X.

The Houthis warned they’d proceed to assault ships within the Purple Sea, Bab Al-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden, and threatened to broaden these assaults if Israel didn’t carry its blockade on Gaza.

Abdulsalam Jahaf, a member of the Houthi Shoura Council, mentioned on X that if Israel doesn’t finish its conflict in Gaza, or if the US and UK proceed to bombard components of Yemen underneath their management, they are going to launch extra assaults on ships, including that the Houthis will not be involved concerning the US terrorism designation.

“The terrorism card doesn’t (frighten) us, however reasonably assures us that we’re heading in the right direction, and it’s a badge of delight,” Jahaf mentioned. 

The Houthis have seized business ships and fired dozens of drones and missiles towards business and naval ships in seas round Yemen, implementing their ban on any Israeli-linked or Israeli-affiliated ships passing by the Purple Sea. The Houthis say that their strikes are supposed to drive Israel to finish its embargo on Gaza.

Requested concerning the US ambassador’s ultimatum to the Houthis, Elisabeth Kendall, a Center East knowledgeable and mistress of Girton Faculty at Cambridge College, informed Arab Information that the US is aware of the Houthis won’t cease their assaults earlier than the Feb. 16 deadline, however has set the ultimatum with the intention to point out it has exhausted its choices earlier than resuming or increasing its navy operations.

“It’s not within the nature of the Houthi management to reply positively to ultimatums. Presumably, the US management is aware of this and is solely issuing an ultimatum in order that it may declare that each one routes had been tried earlier than persevering with or escalating its navy operations,” she mentioned.