US forces are carrying out further attacks against anti-ship cruise missiles and drones in the Red Sea

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US forces carried out further strikes against anti-ship cruise missiles and a drone in the Red Sea on Thursday evening, Central Command said.

CENTCOM forces conducted two self-defense strikes between 6:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. local time against six mobile anti-ship cruise missiles prepared for launch toward the Red Sea.

Earlier in the evening, CENTCOM troops shot down a drone over the southern Red Sea in self-defense, CENTCOM said.

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“CENTCOM forces determined that the missiles and UAVs posed an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy vessels in the region,” the command said. “These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer for the U.S. Navy and merchant vessels.”

The statement comes as Houthi fighters based in Yemen continue a series of attacks on ships in the Red Sea in connection with Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The ongoing attacks have caused massive delays and higher fees for merchant vessels, forcing them to reroute their vessels.

Rush and gunfire during humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza reportedly leaves more than 100 dead

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The US is building an international coalition to protect international shipping from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. (Mass Communications Spc. 2nd Class Moises Sandoval/US Navy via AP)

In January, the US and its allies began strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, although the militant group remained relentless in its attacks.

Earlier this week, a missile exploded on the side of a ship sailing through the Red Sea. The British military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Center, which monitors shipping in the Middle East, reported that the attack took place about 70 miles off the coast of the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeida. The rocket exploded several miles from the ship's bow, they said.

“The crew and vessel are reported to be safe and proceeding to the next port of call,” the UKMTO said.

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Newly recruited Houthi fighters take part in a protest march against U.S.-led attacks on Yemen and Israel's war in Gaza on Wednesday, February 21, in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP/Osamah Abdulrahman)

Private security firm Ambrey reported that the target vessel appeared to be a Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier that was in the area at the time. Another ship, a Panama-flagged Emirati-owned chemical tanker, was also nearby, Ambrey said.

Meanwhile, US military Central Command said an American and an allied warship shot down five bomb-carrying Houthi drones in the Red Sea on Tuesday evening.

Last week, Houthi rebels severely damaged a ship and shot down an American drone worth tens of millions of dollars in a crucial strait. The Houthis insist their attacks will continue until Israel ends its combat operations in Gaza, which have angered the entire Arab world and led to the Houthis gaining international recognition.

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The Houthis, a Shiite Zaydi group, captured Yemen's capital in 2014 and have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since 2015. Their Zaydi people ruled a thousand-year kingdom in Yemen until 1962.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.