The United States intensified its military actions against Houthi targets in Yemen, citing imminent new threats to naval and commercial vessels in the Red Sea.
According to a report by CNN, the U.S. Central Command confirmed the latest strikes Saturday, which obliterated weaponry positioned for potential assaults on ships.
The targets comprised two mobile unmanned surface vessels, four mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, and one mobile land attack cruise missile. CENTCOM emphasized that these assets were primed for deployment against ships navigating the Red Sea, posing a significant danger to "U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels" in the area.
This military engagement comes amidst ongoing efforts by the U.S. to diminish the capabilities of the Iran-backed Houthi militia in disrupting maritime activities within the region. Houthi rebels assert their actions against ships in the Red Sea are retaliatory measures to Israel's military operations in Gaza, fueling concerns of exacerbating tensions in the region.
In a bid to avert a broader regional conflict with Tehran, the United States has refrained from directly targeting Iran, opting instead to confront its proxies in the area. While Iran supports and arms various militant groups, it says it does not exercise direct control over them.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the military to conclude its operations in Rafah, Gaza, before the onset of Ramadan on March 10. Netanyahu's directive includes plans for the evacuation of the population from Rafah, home to over 1.3 million people, many of whom have already been displaced by prior Israeli offensives.
Rafah stands as one of the last major population centers in Gaza, not under Israeli occupation, hosting a large population of displaced Palestinians. Satellite imagery has depicted the rapid expansion of a tent city in the area, underscoring the gravity of the humanitarian situation.
Concerns have been raised by various non-governmental organizations regarding the potential humanitarian catastrophe in Rafah. The Norwegian Refugee Council warned that the city could become a zone of "bloodshed and destruction" with no escape route for its inhabitants. Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, warned of potential massacres and ethnic cleansing if Rafah comes under attack, highlighting the grave risks faced by civilians in the densely populated Gaza Strip.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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