The Pentagon has confirmed it signed off on the use of Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles against Yemeni rebels who had earlier fired at its ship, according to USA Today. The US Navy had attacked and destroyed enemy facilities in three radar sites controlled by rebels.
Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, had issued a statement to confirm that President Obama approved the retaliation with Tomahawk missiles on the enemy.
"The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world," Cook had said.
The destroyed radar sites were in the possession of Shiite rebels otherwise Houthis in Yemen. The Tomahawks were deployed from the USS Nitze around 4 am in the morning.
The Pentagon disclosed that since the three radar sites were in remote sections of town, there was no fear of hitting any civilians during the cruise missile launches. Meanwhile, no civilian casualties had been reported following the counter attacks.
Saudi Arabia had been leading the coalition against Yemeni rebels in the area, and the US had been helping with refueling missions and other logistic supports.
The rebels hold the US and the coalition forces in derision with the campaign, saying they will stand their grounds any day. Sharaf Loqman, the mouthpiece of the Yemeni army said the involvement was only an "American farce to find a reason to interfere in Yemen directly after failure of the Saudis."
On Saturday, over 140 people had been killed during a funeral in Sanaa in areas controlled by the Houthis. And they had thereafter reportedly turned their attacks on US ships, prompting the Pentagon to respond in kind.
But Human Rights Watch has condemned the US attacks, saying it was a war crime to carry on with such onslaughts. To this end, the organization asks for suspension of all military activities in Yemen, while also calling on Houthis and other factional rebels to embrace peace.