A missile fired by the Houthis during military exercises a few days ago (European)

The Pentagon said on Thursday that the United States is not at war with the Houthis, but will continue to strike them, while the group announced its determination to continue targeting ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea.

A Pentagon spokesman said, "We do not seek war with the Houthis, and we do not believe that we are at war with them."

For his part, US President Joe Biden said that the strikes directed by his forces against the Houthis may not stop them, but he stressed that his country is continuing to implement them.

These statements from Washington come hours after the US Central Command announced the implementation of strikes targeting 14 missiles - including two anti-ship missiles - that were prepared to be launched from Houthi areas in Yemen at dawn today.

Central Command said - in a statement - that the targeted missiles represented an imminent threat to commercial ships and US Navy ships in the region.

It also confirmed that these strikes will weaken the Houthis' capabilities to continue their attacks on international shipping.

The Houthi-run Al-Masirah Channel said that American and British aircraft targeted several sites at dawn today in the governorates of Hodeidah, Taiz, Dhamar, Al-Bayda and Saada.

The first bombing operations were carried out on sites in Yemen at dawn last Friday, with American and British participation, less than a month after the formation of an international coalition to confront the attacks in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab.

The new developments come hours after the Houthi group announced the targeting of an American commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden and Washington reclassified the group as a “global terrorist organization.”

New accident

Meanwhile, a Yemeni military source told Al Jazeera that Ansar Allah Houthi forces targeted an American ship near the Yemeni coast of Mukalla.

The British Maritime Trade Operations Authority announced that it had received a report about an incident 85 miles southeast of the city of Al-Shahr, Hadhramaut Governorate (southeast of Yemen).

Before that, the British maritime security company Ambrey said that a US-owned tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands reported that four drones approached and surrounded it about 87 miles southeast of Mukalla, Yemen.

The company added - in a warning note - that one of the drones was reported to have fallen into the water, and confirmed that there were no reports of damage or injuries, noting that the tanker was not damaged and continued its journey.

Yemenis watch Abdul-Malik al-Houthi’s speech in Sanaa (European)

Al-Houthi challenges

Meanwhile, the leader of the Ansar Allah Houthi group, Abdul Malik Al Houthi, said - in a speech broadcast on television - that Yemen will continue its support for the Palestinian people and press by all means to liberate Gaza, including continuing to target ships linked to Israel.

For his part, a Houthi spokesman said that the continuation of what he described as the American-British aggression would not prevent them from continuing to support the Palestinians and Gaza.

The spokesman added that freedom of navigation is available to all ships “except enemy ships heading to the ports of occupied Palestine,” as he put it.

In recent weeks, the US Army announced that it intercepted dozens of missiles and drones fired by the Houthis at ships in the Red Sea, through which 12 international trade passes.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies