US and UK strike Houthi targets in Yemen after ship

US and UK strike Houthi targets in Yemen after ship hit in Red Sea

The article was originally published in English

The US and Britain said they struck 18 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday, following a recent increase in attacks by the Iranbacked militia group.


According to US authorities, American and British warplanes attacked targets in eight locations, targeting missiles, rockets, drones and antiaircraft systems. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide initial details of an ongoing military operation.

This is the fourth time since January 12 that US and UK forces have conducted a joint operation against the Houthis. But the U.S. also carries out almost daily strikes to eliminate Houthi targets, including missiles and drones aimed at ships and readytofire weapons.

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According to authorities, the US F/A18 fighter jets were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is currently in the Red Sea.

“The United States will not hesitate to take the actions necessary to protect lives and the free flow of commerce on one of the world’s most important waterways,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “We will continue to make it clear to the Houthis that they will face the consequences if they do not stop their illegal attacks.”

The Houthis condemned “USBritish aggression” and vowed to continue military operations in response. “The Yemeni Armed Forces maintain that they will counter the USBritish escalation with higher quality military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arabian Seas to defend our land, our people and our nation,” he said in a statement.

The US, Britain and other allies said in a statement that the “necessary and proportionate strikes specifically targeted 18 Houthi targets in 8 locations in Yemen,” which also included underground storage facilities, radars and a helicopter.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said RAF Typhoon jets carried out “precision strikes” aimed at destroying Houthi drones and launchers. Shapps said this came after “serious Houthi attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including against the British ships MV Islander and MV Rubymar, which forced the crew to abandon ship.” It is the fourth Time that Britain has taken part in USled attacks.

The attacks are supported by the broader coalition, which includes Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

President Joe Biden and other leaders have repeatedly warned that the U.S. will not tolerate Houthi attacks on commercial shipping. But the counterattacks do not appear to have slowed the Houthis' campaign against shipping in the region, which the militants say is due to Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Our goal remains to defuse tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but we reiterate our warning to the Houthi leadership: We will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of trade in the face of ongoing threats,” it said it said in Saturday's statement.

The Houthis have carried out at least 57 attacks on commercial and military vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 19, and the pace has increased in recent days.

“Over the last 48 to 72 hours, we have certainly seen an increase in attacks by the Houthis,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at a briefing on Thursday. And she acknowledged that the Houthis would not be deterred.

“We never said we took all their skills off the map,” he told reporters. “We know that the Houthis have a large arsenal. You are very capable. They have sophisticated weapons and that’s because they continue to get them from Iran.”

There have been at least 32 US strikes in Yemen in the last month and a half; some were carried out with the participation of allies. In addition, U.S. warships fired dozens of rockets, missiles and drones targeting merchant ships and other naval vessels.

On Saturday, the destroyer USS Mason shot down an antiship ballistic missile fired from Houthicontrolled areas in Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden, U.S. Central Command said, adding that the missile was likely aimed at the Navy ship MV Torm Thor aimed. Owner and operator of a U.S. flagged petroleum and chemical transportation tank.

The US strikes against the Houthis targeted more than 120 launchers, more than ten surfacetoair missiles, 40 storage and support buildings, 15 drone storage buildings, more than 20 unmanned aerial, surface and submarine vehicles, several underground Storage areas and some other facilities.

The rebels' supreme leader, Abdul Malik alHouthi, announced an “escalation of naval operations” by his forces last week as part of a pressure campaign to end Israel's war against Hamas.

But while the group says the attacks are aimed at prosecuting that war, the Houthis' attacks have become increasingly indiscriminate, endangering a vital waterway for cargo and energy moving from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.


During normal operations, around 400 merchant ships operate in the southern Red Sea at any time. Although the Houthi attacks only hit a small number of ships, sustained attacks and near misses fired by the US and its allies led shipping companies to withdraw their ships from the Red Sea.

Instead, they sent them to circumnavigate Africa via the Cape of Good Hope a much longer, more expensive and less efficient passage. The threats have also prompted the U.S. and its allies to launch a joint mission in which participating nations' warships will provide a protective air defense umbrella for ships traveling between the Suez Canal and the Bab elMandeb Strait.