HouthisREUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

US forces on Saturday night downed a Houthi missile that was prepared to launch in the Red Sea.

“On Feb. 4, at approximately 4 a.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command forces conducted a strike in self-defense against a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

“U.S. forces identified the cruise missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined it presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region. This action will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels,” the statement added.

The incident occurred hours after the US and Britain announced they had struck 36 targets of the Iranian-affiliated Houthis in Yemen.

“Today, at the direction of their respective governments, the militaries of the United States and United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen in response to the Houthis' continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea,” said a joint statement from the countries.

“Today's strike specifically targeted sites associated with the Houthis' deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars,” the statement said.

Saturday’s strikes come a day after the US began retaliatory strikes in Syria against Iran-backed militias for a drone strike on an American base in Jordan last Sunday that killed three US service members.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-affiliated organization which is based in London, said eight posts of the pro-Iranian militias were attacked and at least six people were killed.