U.S. Responds to Missile Attacks, Targets 3 Radar Sites On Yemen’s Coast
(Source: U.S. Department of Defence; issued October 13, 2016)
WASHINGTON --- The United States yesterday conducted sea-launched cruise missile strikes against three radar sites on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters in a news briefing today.

“These strikes were in response to attempted missile attacks in recent days against USS Mason and other vessels in the Red Sea and Bab el Mandeb,” Cook said.

Cook said the U.S. strikes were launched from the USS Nitze, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer operating in the Gulf of Aden.

Defending Freedom of Navigation

“These targets were chosen based on our assessment that they were involved in missile launches in recent days, and they were struck in order to defend our ships and their crews and to protect freedom of navigation through a waterway that is vitally important to international commerce,” Cook said.

The press secretary emphasized two points: the strikes were in response to a threat to U.S. vessels and to freedom of navigation, a core U.S. security interest. Secondly, “that those who might threaten U.S. forces should recognize that we will not tolerate threats to our people.”

The strikes were not connected to the broader conflict in Yemen, Cook said, adding, “The United States continues to encourage all parties in the Yemen conflict to commit to a cessation of hostilities and to seek a political solution to that conflict.”

More than four million barrels of oil pass through the Bab el Mandeb each day, he noted.

“This narrow passage is a vital link connecting Asia and Europe,” Cook said. “Safe navigation through the strait is vitally important to economies in the region and to global commerce.”

Those who threaten American forces should realize the United States doesn’t “tolerate threats to our people,” Cook said.

“We will respond if our forces come under fire,” the press secretary said. “We have taken swift action in this case, and should we see a repeat, we are prepared to take appropriate action at the appropriate time.”

Hurricane Matthew Update

Cook also provided an update about the department’s response to Hurricane Matthew.

The impact of the storm is still being felt in the southeast, he said, roughly 21,000 residents are in shelters, more than two million are without power, and “rivers are still rising between five to 12 feet [above flood stage].”

The department is coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on possible debris management plans and temporary roofing assistance, he said.

“About 5,500 National Guard soldiers and airmen have transitioned to supporting flood relief efforts,” Cook said.

Cook noted that North Carolina has a “significant military population” and that military installations are being directly affected.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who have been affected by the storm,” he said.

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U.S. Charges That Iran Supplied Yemeni Rebels with Missiles Aimed At US Ship
(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued Oct 14, 2016)
Top U.S. officials are charging that Iran supplied Yemeni rebels with the missiles that were aimed at a U.S. Navy warship in several attacks this week.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, who was briefed by the Pentagon on the three failed missile attacks on the USS Mason destroyer, said on October 13 that Iran likely provided the missiles.

McCain endorsed the Pentagon's move to retaliate by launching cruise missiles that destroyed mobile radar sites used by the Huthis to launch their missiles, which were believed to be C-802 anti-ship weapons.

"The United States Navy has delivered a strong message" that it won't tolerate such aggression, McCain said.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby also said this week that the missiles were "provided by Iran to the Huthi rebels," although he said it was also possible the Huthis captured some missiles from the Yemeni government army.

Iran has been openly allied with the Shi'ite Huthis, but denies arming them. Still, Iran sent two warships to the gulf off the coast of Yemen after the United States struck back at the Huthi radar sites.

Iran said the move was to "protect trade vessels from piracy."

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