US, UK conduct strikes against 8 Houthi targets in Yemen

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By Anadolu Agency

US and British forces with support from other allies conducted strikes Monday against eight Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the group’s attacks in the Red Sea, according to a joint statement.

“The militaries of the United States and United Kingdom, at the direction of their respective governments with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 8 Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea,” the statement said.

The precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of mariners, it said.

They are also in response to a series of “illegal, dangerous and destabilizing” Houthi actions since coalition strikes on Jan. 11, including anti-ship ballistic missile and unmanned aerial system attacks that struck two US-owned merchant vessels, it added.

“Today’s strike specifically targeted a Houthi underground storage site and locations associated with the Houthis’ missile and air surveillance capabilities,” it said.

Tensions have escalated in the Red Sea amid Houthi attacks on commercial ships suspected of having links with Israel.

The Houthis say their attacks aim to pressure Israel to halt its deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 25,295 people since an Oct. 7 cross-border offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas.

The US and UK launched airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in recent days in retaliation for the attacks, which have created fears of a new bout of inflation and supply chain disruption.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last month announced the creation of a multinational mission, Operation Prosperity Guardian, to counter Houthi attacks.

‘Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks’

According to the statement, the Houthis have carried out more than 30 attacks on international and commercial vessels since mid-November, which constitute an international challenge.

“Recognizing the broad consensus of the international community, we again acted as part of a coalition of like-minded countries committed to upholding the rules-based order, protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on mariners and commercial shipping,” it said.

The aim is to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, it added.

Warning the Houthi leadership, the countries said in the statement that “we will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats.”

‘Strikes separate, distinct from Operation Prosperity Guardian’

The Pentagon said the strikes were carried out at approximately 11.59 p.m. local time (2059GMT).

The targets included missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, radars and deeply buried weapons storage facilities, it said in a statement.

“These strikes are intended to degrade Houthi capability to continue their reckless and unlawful attacks on U.S. and U.K. ships as well as international commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden.

“These strikes are separate and distinct from the multinational freedom of navigation actions performed under Operation Prosperity Guardian,” it added.

The Red Sea is one of the world’s most frequently used sea routes for oil and fuel shipments. It is used to transit between Egypt’s Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden, allowing ships to avoid the much costlier and longer route across the southern coast of Africa.