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Pentagon challenged on notion US strikes are deterring Houthi attacks

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh was challenged Thursday on the notion that U.S.-led coalition strikes against Houthis in Yemen were deterring the militant group from carrying out their attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. 

During a Thursday morning press conference, reporters asked whether the Pentagon assessed that the Houthis have ramped up attacks in recent days. 

Singh conceded there has been an increase in attacks over the past two to three days, but noted that many of them have been to the Houthi’s own detriment. 

Given that U.S.-led efforts to deter increased attacks on ships in the Red Sea have ostensibly failed, one reporter asked whether there were any efforts to step up efforts or change tactics. 

‘I think what you’re seeing in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden is a coalition of like-minded countries coming together, including most recently with the E.U. announcing their own coalition. And that’s working alongside Operation Prosperity Guardian to defend innocent mariners that are transiting the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and to allow for the freedom of navigation and upholding the rule of law,’ Singh said. 

The White House announced Operation Prosperity Guardian in December as a U.S.-led coalition effort to take decisive action against Iran-backed Houthi rebels targeting commercial ships. The Houthis have said the attacks are to show solidarity with Palestinian civilians killed in Israel’s ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip, though many of their targets have had nothing to do with Israel or the United States. 

The attacks have led to major shipping vessels avoiding the Red Sea altogether, adding delays and exorbitant fees. In January, the U.S. and the U.K. began striking Houthi targets. Still, the Houthis have carried on attacking commercial vessels. 

Another reporter questioned what the Pentagon was prepared to do further given that the Houthis ‘are essentially preparing to dig in for the long haul.’ Singh said that despite the ongoing attacks, the Houthis appear to be sticking to the same playbook. 

She took issue with another reporter’s insistence that ‘ships keep getting hit,’ noting that service members are patrolling the Red Sea every day alongside coalition partners and allies. 

‘Do some of the missiles get through every now and then? Yes, we’ve seen that happen. But for the majority of the time, our engagements have been successful,’ Singh said. 

The presser came hours after Houthi rebels launched attacks on both Israel and a ship traveling through the Gulf of Aden, setting the vessel ablaze. 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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