Pen­tagon pre­pares for new strikes in Ye­men

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON: The Pen­tagon was pre­par­ing for pos­si­ble new strikes in Ye­men on Thurs­day af­ter US mis­siles hit Houthi rebel tar­gets, but of­fi­cials stressed Amer­ica wants to avoid get­ting em­broiled in yet an­other war. The US Navy ear­lier launched five Tom­a­hawk cruise mis­siles at three mo­bile radar sites in Houthi-con­trolled ter­ri­tory on Ye­men’s Red Sea coast, af­ter the Iran-backed rebels blasted rock­ets at the USS Ma­son de­stroyer twice in four days. The mil­i­tary in­sists these moves are taken out of self­de­fense.

Though the United States is pro­vid­ing lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to a Saudi-led coali­tion bat­tling the rebels, Thurs­day’s bomb­ing marked the first time Wash­ing­ton has taken di­rect ac­tion against the Houthis. Pen­tagon spokesman Peter Cook said this was not a pre­lude to a new cam­paign in the re­gion, where Amer­ica is to vary­ing de­grees wag­ing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. “We don’t seek a wider role in the con­flict,” Cook said. “This is about pro­tect­ing our peo­ple, pe­riod.” The White House also stressed the United States was not step­ping up its mil­i­tary role. “This is not any en­gage­ment in the sec­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion on the ground in Ye­men,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. The Houthi mis­siles were be­lieved to have been a type of C-802 anti-ship weapon with “ex­plo­sively formed pen­e­tra­tor war­heads,” a se­nior de­fense of­fi­cial told AFP, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity. The Houthis have de­nied con­duct­ing the at­tacks.

Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor John McCain said the mis­siles “likely” came from the Ira­nian regime. “Thanks to the suc­cess­ful strikes car­ried out in re­sponse by the USS Nitze,” which launched the cruise mis­siles, “the United States Navy has de­liv­ered a strong mes­sage,” he said in a state­ment. But the US strikes did not take out Houthi mis­siles and, though the radar de­struc­tion makes it harder to aim the weapons, the of­fi­cial warned rebels could still use spot­ter boats or on­line ship-track­ing web­sites to find new tar­gets. “They do need to knock it off. We will not hes­i­tate” to launch new re­tal­ia­tory at­tacks, the offi- cial said. Cook said the United states was “pre­pared to re­spond fur­ther”. “But we be­lieve we’ve taken ac­tion that will re­duce their abil­ity to carry out these kinds of at­tacks,” he added. — AFP

— AP

SANAA: Fire and smoke rise af­ter an airstrike hit a site be­lieved to be one of the largest weapons de­pots on the out­skirts of the Ye­meni cap­i­tal yes­ter­day.

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