U.S. Navy forces took out at least a dozen Iran-backed Houthi rebel air drones Friday, according to U.S. Central Command.

The intercepts came on the same day that U.S. forces began air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria in response to Sunday’s fatal drone attack that killed three American soldiers.

At about 9:20 p.m. local time Friday, the Navy destroyer Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower took out seven Houthi drones over the Red Sea.

“There were no injuries or damages reported,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “These actions will product freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels.”

On Friday afternoon, CENTCOM forces took out four Houthi drones that were prepared to launch, after determining “they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region.

Friday morning, the destroyer Carney shot down a drone over the Gulf of Aden.

Navy warships and commercial ships have regularly been fired upon by Houthis in Yemen since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, and the attacks have continued even after the United States and allies began bombing Houthi sites in Yemen last month.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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