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Houthis still conducting attacks but need to ask how much of capability do they want 'degraded': Pentagon


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Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have maintained an ability to conduct attacks against international shipping vessels despite a wave of U.S. airstrikes targeting the terror group, the Pentagon said Wednesday. 

The U.S., in coordination with several other nations, conducted strikes on Houthi targets last week in response to the group's ongoing attacks on commercial ships in and around the Red Sea that began in November.

"We hit what we intended to hit with good effects," Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. "Again, the objective here was to disrupt and degrade Houthi capabilities to conduct attacks. And we believe that overall, in terms of the scope and the number of strikes that we took, we have degraded their ability to attack."

HOUTHI CRUISE MISSILE FIRED FROM YEMEN TOWARD US WARSHIP SHOT DOWN BY FIGHTER JET: CENTCOM

Despite the retaliatory strikes, the Houthis launched an anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen on Tuesday at the M/V Zografia, a Maltese flagged bulk carrier that was struck. No injuries were reported.

Hours earlier, U.S. strikes destroyed four Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles that were prepared to launch, U.S. Central Command said. 

Ryder said he was not surprised that the Houthis would try and conduct further attacks following the U.S. response.

"As I highlighted and as we highlighted shortly after those strikes, we would be surprised if we saw efforts on their part if they continued to try and conduct retaliatory strikes," he said. "Ultimately at the end of the day, the Houthis need to ask themselves how much of their capability do they want degraded and disrupted in light of these illegal, reckless and dangerous attacks."

WHO ARE THE HOUTHI REBELS ATTACKING COMMERCIAL SHIPS IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

The Houthis have disrupted global shipping with its attacks. The group has said its actions are retaliation against Israel's military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

The attacks, along with recent strikes by Iran against a "spy headquarters and the gathering of anti-Iranian terrorist groups," in Ebril, Iraq and other locations have sparked concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could escalate into a regional conflict

"We're also going to continue to work very hard to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from escalating into a broader regional conflict," Ryder said Wednesday in response to a question from a reporter. "But to answer your question, no, we currently assess that the fight between Israel and Hamas continues to remain contained in Gaza."

The Biden administration plans to redesignate the Houthi's as a terrorist group three years after removing them from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list in response its repeated attacks in the Red Sea. 

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The group will be placed on the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list, which will trigger sanctions designed to prevent further attacks on global trade in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, according to senior administration officials. 

Fox News Digital's Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report. 

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