The U.S. officially entered war with Yemen late Wednesday, launching strikes on Houthis for the first time, purportedly in retaliation for attempted missile attacks on American warships earlier this week.
An anonymous U.S. spokesperson said the strikes destroyed three radar installations used to target the USS Mason over the past four days. The American warship had been operating out of the Bab al-Mandeb waterway between Yemen and East Africa, the Guardian reports.
U.S. officials claimed to Reuters that there were “growing indications” the rebels or allied forces had carried out strikes on Sunday, which saw two coastal cruise missiles launched at the warship, but not reaching it. However, Houthi rebels have denied any involvement, stating that allegations otherwise from U.S. officials were pretext to “escalate aggression and cover up crimes committed against the Yemeni people.”
In addition to making the U.S. an official combatant in the war, the strikes further complicate a tense situation on the ground in Yemen, where the Saudi Arabia-led coalitionbombed a funeral ceremony on Saturday, killing by some estimates at least 155 people. It prompted human rights advocates on Capitol Hill and beyond to implore the U.S. to stop supporting the Saudi campaign, although the Obama administration recently authorized a $1.13 billion arms sale to the Gulf kingdom.