Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen continue to target ships in the Red Sea. In a statement made by the US Central Command (CENTCOM), it was announced that the Houthis targeted the Marshall Islands-flagged US-owned, Greek-operated tanker ship M/V Chem Ranger with 2 anti-ship ballistic missiles at around 21.00 yesterday. It was stated that the missiles fell close to the ship and the ship was not damaged. It was reported that this was the third attack by the Houthis on commercial ships in the last 3 days.

In another statement made yesterday evening, it was reported that US forces shot down 2 Houthi anti-ship missiles targeting the southern Red Sea. The missiles posed an imminent threat to commercial ships and the US Navy in the region, the statement said, adding that US forces shot down and destroyed the missiles in "self-defense".

"We could not stop the Houthis"

US President Joe Biden answered journalists' questions about the Houthi attacks. To the question of whether the US attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen have stopped the attacks in the Red Sea, Biden said, "Are they stopping the Houthis? No. Will they (attacks against the Houthis) continue? Yes," he answered.

Tension in the Red Sea

In response to Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, the Houthis began targeting commercial ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea. Warning ships in the Red Sea not to sail towards Israel, the Houthis launched missile and drone attacks on commercial vessels, and many shipping companies halted their voyages in the Red Sea. In December, Washington announced the formation of a multinational coalition called "Operation Welfare Guardian" against the increasing Houthi attacks on international ships in the Red Sea. The US and Britain launched air and naval strikes against the Houthis in Yemen on January 12. On January 13, the US alone struck a Houthi radar facility with Tomahawk missiles. In a statement made by CENTCOM on January 16, it was stated that 4 anti-ship ballistic missiles deployed to be launched from Houthi-controlled areas were destroyed. On January 17, the US had shot down 14 missiles deployed to be fired from Houthi-controlled areas.

The global supply chain has been negatively affected by the Houthis' attacks in the Red Sea since November 19, when they announced that they would target all ships sailing to Israel until the attacks in Gaza ended. The US announced the previous day that it had re-listed the Houthis as a terrorist organization.