- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2016

U.S. forces launched multiple strikes against targets inside rebel-controlled territory in Yemen, the Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday.

American forces destroyed three radar stations in the western part of the country-controlled Houthi rebels, a Sunni separatist sect in the country that ousted former President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from power last year.

The sites had been used to coordinate two missile attack against American warships operating off of the Yemeni coastline, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said Wednesday.

The strikes, authorized by the White House were “limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway,” Mr. Cook said in a statement released late Wednesday night.

The strikes took place hours after USS Mason, an American guided-missile destroyer deployed to the Red Sea, came under fire from a cruise missile launched from Houthi-controlled territory near Al Hudaydah, roughly 180 miles southwest of Yemeni capital of Sana.

It was the second such attack in as many weeks against the Arleigh-Burke class warship.

“The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world,” Mr. Cook said.

Late last week, two missiles were fired at the Mason from roughly the same area late last week, the Pentagon confirmed on Monday. Neither of the missiles hit the ship. Reports claim one of the two missiles was destroyed in mid-flight by the ship’s onboard anti-missile systems, while the other fell short of their target.

Days after that initial strike, the Mason again came under fire early Wednesday.

The missile, the same type of weapon that crippled an United Arab Emirates warship that was passing through the same contested waterway earlier this month, was again intercepted by the ship’s defensive systems.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that U.S. commanders in the region were considering retaliatory strikes against targets inside Houthi-held areas in Yemen.

American adversaries in Yemen and elsewhere “ought to understand that is a capability the U.S. has, and that is all I’ll say on that,” he said during a briefing concluding a daylong regional security symposium with South and Central America allies in Trinidad.

Defense Department officials were “absolutely right” to reassert the notion that U.S. forces can and will use lethal force, in self defense, when attacked, he added at the time.

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