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AL-MUKALLA: The US and UK carried out airstrikes on Hodeidah city airport in western Yemen a day after the Houthis launched missile and drone attacks on ships in the Red Sea, the militia said on Wednesday.

The Houthis launched a close-range ballistic missile at a US naval destroyer on Tuesday, the latest in a series of militia missile and drone strikes targeting foreign commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait, and Gulf of Aden.

According to the US Central Command, the Houthis launched the missile from areas under their control in Yemen between 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. (Sanaa time) on Tuesday.

The missile targeted the USS Laboon in the Red Sea, but did not strike the ship or cause any damage.

The US military said on X that its forces and an allied warship destroyed two unmanned aerial systems fired from a Houthi-controlled region of Yemen targeting US, international, and commercial ships in the Red Sea.

“It was determined these weapons presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships. These actions are taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for US Navy and merchant vessels,” CENTCOM said. 

Since November, Iran-backed Houthis have launched hundreds of drones, missiles, and remote-controlled boats at commercial and navy ships in international waters off Yemen’s coastline, claiming that their actions are in solidarity with Palestinians, and retaliation for US and UK strikes on areas under their control in Yemen.

The US and UK, supported by other nations, launched dozens of attacks on military targets in Sanaa, Saada, Taiz, and other Houthi-controlled territories, hitting missile and drone launchers and depots, radar sites, and other military infrastructure.

Despite the airstrikes and pleas for de-escalation in the Red Sea, the Houthi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday renewed its threats to increase the assaults on US, UK, and Israeli ships, as well as vessels bound for Israel, if Israel launches a fresh military onslaught in Gaza. 

Meanwhile, the Houthis said that X notified them that the removal of blue verification badges from their media outlets and their leaders’ accounts was due to technical issues and had no political motivation.

“Twitter management emphasized to Sanaa experts that the absence of the blue mark for certain accounts was caused by a technical issue rather than a political one and that they are working to fix it,” Hussein Al-Ezzi, deputy foreign minister in the Houthi government, said on X. 

On Tuesday, the Houthis criticized X for removing verification badges from the accounts of their Al-Masirah TV, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, and military spokesperson Yahya Sarea. 

Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani applauded the decision.

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