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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 06:25 IST

US Launches Fourth Round of Strikes Against Houthis After Rebel Group Attacks American Vessel

As the tensions in the Middle East continue to escalate, the United States conducted its fourth round of strikes against the Houthi targets in Yemen.

US
US President Joe Biden and the commerical vessel in the Red Sea. | Image:AP
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As the tensions in the Middle East continue to escalate, the United States conducted its fourth round of strikes against the Houthi targets in Yemen just hours after the Iran-backed militant group launched a drone attack against a US-owned ship in the Gulf of Aden. According to CBS News, a US official confirmed the attack stating that it was conducted as a retaliatory measure. The animosities between the two sides also took a drastic turn after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Washington would once again classify the Yemeni rebel group as a terrorist organisation. 

The recent barrage of American strikes in the Middle East Nations came after it was confirmed that Houthis attacked an American cargo ship which was stationed at the Gulf of Aden. The matters worsened after the Cargo ship caught fire shortly after the attack. “At approximately 8:30 pm (Sanaa time) on Jan. 17, an assessed one-way attack UAS was launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen and struck M/V Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden. M/V Genco Picardy is a Marshall Islands-flagged, US-owned and operated bulk carrier ship,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. “There were no injuries and some damage was reported. M/V Genco Picardy is seaworthy and continuing underway,” the statement further reads. The attack on the American Cargo ship was the latest in a series of attacks that the Houthis have launched at commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Ade since November 19. The group mentioned that their attacks on these commercial vessels were a response to Israel's operations in Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. 

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US redesignates Houthis as a terrorist group

On Wednesday, Blinken mentioned that the US would redesignate the Yemeni militant group as a terrorist organisation. However, he noted that the restrictions and penalties linked to the designation would not take effect for the next 30 days, since the country is concerned about the flow of aid and commercial goods to Yemeni civilians. "The Houthis must be held accountable for their actions, but it should not be at the expense of Yemeni civilians," Blinken said in a statement. “As the Department of State moves forward with this designation, we are taking significant steps to mitigate any adverse impacts this designation may have on the people of Yemen,” he furthered. The American diplomat also emphasised that the decision could be reversed if the rebel group ended their assault on commercial vessels. "If the Houthis cease their attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the United States will reevaluate this designation," he said. The US State Department revoked the designation in the group shortly after President Biden took office in early 2021. 
 

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 06:25 IST

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