Massive retaliation strike against Houthis in Yemen who are backed by Iran is carried out by US and UK forces

In a huge retaliation strike involving fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles launched from warships and submarines, the U.S. and British forces bombed over a dozen locations in Yemen that are utilised by the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, on Thursday, according to U.S. officials.

Over 60 targets, including “command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defence radar systems,” were targeted at 16 locations in Yemen, according to the U.S. Air Force’s Mideast command.

The strikes, according to US President Joe Biden, were intended to show that the US and its allies “will not tolerate” the militant group’s ongoing attacks on the Red Sea. He added that only after trying to reach a diplomatic agreement and giving it considerable thought did they decide to act.

“These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea — including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history,” Biden stated in a statement. He stated that trade was at risk and that the attacks put American personnel and civilian mariners in danger. He also said, “I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

Early on Friday morning local time, four explosions were heard by Associated Press journalists in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Amin Ali Saleh and Hani Ahmed, two Hodieda residents, claimed to have heard five loud explosions strike the city’s western port sector, which is located on the Red Sea and is the biggest port city under Houthi control. Speaking with the AP, witnesses claimed to have seen attacks in Taiz and Dhamar, two cities located south of Sanaa.

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict, there has been a continuous campaign of drone and missile assaults on commercial ships. These strikes were the first military reaction by the United States to this campaign. The coordinated military attack also occurs barely one week after the Houthis were given a final warning to stop their attacks or risk possible military action by the White House and its allies. Under the condition of anonymity, the officials discussed military operations when describing the strikes. Congressmen were briefed on the strike plans earlier on Thursday.

Attacks ceased for several days, suggesting that the warning had at least some temporary effect. However, on Tuesday, the Houthi rebels launched the most drones and missiles they had ever fired at American and British ships as well as American fighter jets, targeting shipping in the Red Sea. In response, the American fighter jets shot down two cruise missiles, an anti-ship missile, and eighteen drones. Additionally, a commercial ship saw the Houthis launch an anti-ship ballistic missile into the Gulf of Aden on Thursday, but the ship was not struck.

Senior administration and military sources told reporters in a teleconference that following Tuesday’s attacks, Biden called a meeting of his national security team and was given military options for a response. Then he gave the order to execute the retaliatory strikes to Defence

Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is still in the hospital due to complications from surgery for prostate cancer.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated in a separate statement that the Royal Air Force struck military installations used by the Houthis. Four fighter jets stationed in Cyprus participated in the strikes, according to the Defence Ministry.

He continued, saying, “This cannot stand,” pointing out that the extremists have launched a number of hazardous strikes against vessels. He stated that Britain took “limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence, alongside the United States with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks, to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping.”

Along with the United States and United Kingdom, the governments of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Korea released a statement stating that although the goal is to reduce tensions and bring stability back to the Red Sea, the allies will not back down from defending lives and safeguarding trade in the vital waterway.

On the other hand, Russia asked for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to discuss the strikes. The current president of the council, France, announced that it will happen on Friday afternoon.

Since Nov. 19, the rebels have launched 27 attacks using several drones and missiles, and they have threatened to retaliate violently if American forces target any of their locations in Yemen.

Ali al-Qahoum, a senior Houthi official, promised retaliatory action. “The battle will be bigger … and beyond the imagination and expectation of the Americans and the British,” he wrote in an article on X.

The Al-Dailami Air Base north of Sanaa, the airport in the port city of Hodeida, a camp east of Saada, the airport in the city of Taiz, and an airport close to Hajjah were all mentioned as being struck by strikes on the Houthi-run satellite news channel Al-Masirah.

Following the strikes on Friday, the Houthis claimed that six of their soldiers had been wounded and five had died.

Although the U.S. anticipates that the strikes will weaken the Houthis’ capabilities, a senior administration official stated that “we would not be surprised to see some sort of response,” even if they haven’t yet seen anything. According to officials, the US launched Tomahawk missiles from Navy destroyers and a submarine, and utilised fighter jets from the Air Force and warplanes based on the Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

According to the Houthis, the goal of their attacks is to halt Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, their targets are becoming less and less connected to Israel, endangering a vital economic route that connects Europe with Asia and the Middle East.

In the meantime, a resolution was voted by the UN Security Council on Wednesday, indirectly denouncing Iran, the Houthis’ arms supplier, and demanding that they immediately stop their attacks. By a vote of 11-0, with four votes against, it was approved by Algeria, Mozambique, China, and Russia.

The Biden administration’s attempt to fight the Houthis through a broad international coalition rather than appear to be fighting it alone was highlighted by Britain’s involvement in the strikes. A marine effort spearheaded by the United States to enhance ship protection in the Red Sea is already involving over 20 countries.

For weeks, American officials had refrained from indicating when the world would tyre of their tolerance and they would retaliate against the Houthis, despite the fact that several commercial ships had been hit by missiles and drone strikes, forcing several corporations to consider rerouting their ships.

However, American authorities issued another warning of consequences on Wednesday.

During a tour in Bahrain, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters, “I’m not going to telegraph or preview anything that might happen.” According to him, the United States has made it plain that “there will be consequences if this continues as it did yesterday.” And with that, I will conclude.”

The Biden administration’s hesitation to strike back during the previous few months was a reflection of political sensitivities and was primarily caused by concerns about upending the precarious peace in Yemen and starting a wider fight in the area. In order to avoid creating a new front in the conflict, the White House has been cautious about acting in Yemen. It wants to maintain the ceasefire.

The coalition warning, however, was signed by the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom due to the effects on international shipping and the intensifying attacks.

Travelling across the Red Sea is essential for international trade, as it connects the Suez Canal to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The river that divides Africa and the Arabian Peninsula usually carries around 12% of global trade, which includes grain, toys, electronics, natural gas, and oil.

Following the attacks, the United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian, a new maritime security effort that involves approximately 22 countries and aims to bolster security in the Red Sea, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. In order to safeguard ships and ward off threats, American and foreign warships have been often passing through the small strait back and forth. Airborne monitoring has also been increased by the coalition.

The decision to launch the extended patrol operation was made on December 3 following the Houthi-fired missile attack on three commercial vessels in Yemen.

Following the Hamas assaults in Israel on October 7, the Pentagon stepped up its military presence in the area in an effort to prevent Iran from escalating the battle into a regional fight involving the Houthis and militias supported by Iran in both Iraq and Syria.

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