Yemen's Houthis say ready to help investigate attacks on international shipping


The Iran-backed rebels have denied carrying out the attacks, which saw missiles fired at USA warships in the Red Sea on Sunday and Wednesday but falling short of their targets.

Earlier the same day, the US military struck three Houthi radar platforms deployed near Yemen's Red Sea coast, according to the Pentagon.

Prior to these self-defense strikes, it was reported that the Iranian-backed Houthi militant group was responsible for two missile attacks on the USS Mason in the past four days, The Guardian noted.

The recent strikes against the radar sites aim to neutralize the Houthi rebels' ability to track and target USA ships.

"Initial assessments show the sites were destroyed", a Pentagon statement read.

Neither the Houthis nor the rump government of President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi has any real prospect of military victory.

Saudi Arabia, a USA ally, is backing the Yemeni administration, while Iran is believed to be supplying weapons, like the missiles that attacked the Mason, to the Houthis.

US FORCES attacked Yemen with cruise missiles yesterday, adding to the Saudi blitz on the impoverished Middle Eastern nation in what the Pentagon claimed was "self-defence".

The Houthi's actions highlight the long-range missile threat they can pose to neighboring countries and USA warships in the waters off Yemen. He added that the USA would respond to "any further threat" to American ships and commercial traffic in the area.

Although the United States has provided limited support for the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis, it also has reserved its direct military role in Yemen to the fight against al Qaeda's affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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Human Rights Watch reported Thursday that the incidents followed a Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrike on a crowded funeral in Sana, the capital of Yemen, on Saturday, in which at least 100 people were killed. The U.N. estimates that at least 10,000 people have been killed during the conflict - and as NPR's Jackie Northam reports, almost half of them are civilians.

"Those who threaten our forces should know that USA commanders retain the right to defend their ships, and we will respond to this threat at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner", said Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook in a statement, according to CNN. USA officials say that this was done in retaliation after United States navy ships were targeted by missiles fired from rebel controlled territory.

In the early morning hours on October 13 the USS Nitze, a United States Navy destroyer, launched cruise missile strikes to destroy three coastal radar sites in Yemen.

"Tasnim said the Iranian ships will patrol the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen, which is one of the world's most important shipping routes", Reuters added.

Meanwhile, Yemen's state news agency Saba- under Houthis' control- quoted an unnamed military official as saying that U.S. accusations that a USA destroyer had come under attack from areas under control of Houthis were false.

The war accelerated in March 2015 when Saudi Arabia, fearing the influence of its arch-rival Iran, led a coalition air campaign to support Yemen's exiled leader Abed Rabbo Mansour. It also supplies advanced munitions and logistics support to the effort, and is Saudi Arabia s biggest arms supplier. "USS Mason will continue its operations".

In response, people in Yemen threatened the USA, saying "America is intervening directly after the failure of its tails (Saudi Arabia), you are welcome, your graveyards are ready".

"The intent of our strikes were to deter future attacks and to reduce the risk to USA and other vessels".

The funeral strike prompted the non-profit group Human Rights Watch to call on the U.S. to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and for the worldwide community to launch an investigation into possible war crimes there.