Navy strikes back at rebel-held radar sites in Yemen

Norfolk-based USS Nitze hits Yemen sites

The Navy retaliated for missiles fired at its ships off the coast of Yemen in recent days by destroying three radar sites in rebel-held territory, the Pentagon announced late Wednesday.

The Navy's counter attack with multiple Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles was approved by President Obama.

"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," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

The sites, in territory controlled by Shiite rebels known as Houthis on the Yemen's Red Sea coast, appear to have been destroyed, Cook said.

The Tomahawks were fired from the USS Nitze at about 4 a.m. local time, the Pentagon said.

Radar at the sites was active during the launches of cruise missiles at US ships, including the destroyer USS Mason on Wednesday, the Pentagon said. None of the enemy missiles damaged navy ships.

The radar sites were in remote areas — near Ras Isa, north of Mukha and near Khoka — and there was was little risk of civilian casualties, the Pentagon said.

Yemen's Saba news agency, which is controlled by the Houthis, quoted a military official denying that the rebels targeted a U.S. ship.

The U.S. has been providing logistical support and refueling to the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis.

Sharaf loqman, spokesman for the Yemeni army, called the incident an “American farce to find a reason to interfere in Yemen directly after failure of the Saudis," the Associated Press reported.

The launches of missiles at U.S. ships followed the bombing of a funeral hall in the Yemeni capital Sanaa — apparently by forces from the Saudi-led coalition — that killed at least 140 people Saturday. Sanaa is controlled by the Houthis.

Human Rights Watch said the bomb was manufactured in America. The U.S.-based organization said the bombing was an apparent war crime and called on the United States, the United Kingdom and other governments to immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Contributing: Jane Onyanga-Omara


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