Thursday, April 18, 2024

US, UK and allies strike Houthi targets in Yemen


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Washington/ Jerusalem, Feb 4: The US and the UK have conducted joint strikes on 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen, in another wave of assaults intended to degrade the capabilities of the Iran-backed militia that has targeted international shipping vessels in the Red Sea in response to the Israel-Hamas war.
The Pentagon said the UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand were involved in Saturday’s strikes against Houthi targets.
The latest strikes, executed with fighter jets and ships, come after the US launched strikes on 85 targets in Syria and Iraq on Friday in response to a deadly drone attack on a US military base in Jordan last Sunday that killed three of its service members.
“Militaries from the United States and the United Kingdom conducted additional strikes against the Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen,” Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
This collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels, Austin said.
“We will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” Austin said.
These strikes, he said, are intended to disrupt further and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilising attacks against US and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea.
Austin said that the coalition forces targeted 13 locations associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defence systems, and radars, Austin said.
The strikes are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilising Houthi actions since previous coalition strikes on January 11 and 22, 2024, including the January 27 attack which struck and set ablaze the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker M/V Marlin Luanda, a joint statement issued by the US, the UK and its other coalition partners said.
The Houthis’ now more than 30 attacks on commercial vessels and naval vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge.
“Recognising the broad consensus of the international community, our coalition of like-minded countries committed to upholding the rules-based order has continued to grow,” the statement said.
Saturday’s strikes are the third time in recent weeks that the US and UK attacked Houthi targets as part of a joint operation. On January 11, the two militaries struck approximately 30 Houthi sites. Less than two weeks later, the US and UK struck another eight sites.
But the Houthis have remained defiant, vowing after the last round of US-led strikes they are “more determined to confront” what they called the US and the UK “aggressors.”
Iran-backed militias have mounted more than 165 drone, missile and rocket attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.
Iran issues warning about suspected spy ships
Iran issued a warning on Sunday to the US over potentially targeting two cargo ships in the Mideast long suspected of serving as forwarding operating base for Iranian commandos, just after US and the UK Kingdom launched a massive airstrike campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The statement from Iran on the Behshad and Saviz ships appeared to signal Tehran’s growing unease over the US strikes in recent days in Iraq, Syria and Yemen targeting militias backed by the Islamic Republic.
Those attacks, themselves a retaliatory campaign for the killing of three US soldiers and wounding of dozens of others in Jordan, all stem back to Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has escalated tensions across the wider Middle East and raised fears about a regional conflict breaking out.
The Yemen strikes overnight on Sunday struck across six provinces of Yemen held by the Houthi rebels, including in Sanaa, the capital. The Houthis gave no assessment of the damage but the US described hitting underground missile arsenals, launch sites and helicopters used by the rebels. (Agencies)


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