Reports of more missile attacks followed US and UK airstrikes against Houthi targets

Following the US and RAF launching airstrikes in Yemen, the Houthi rebels issued a warning that British interests are “legitimate targets” and a new missile attack against a vessel has been reported.

In reaction to the militants’ attacks on container ships in the Red Sea, the US and UK targeted military installations utilised by the organisation with Iranian support during the course of the night.

The Houthis, who support Hamas, assert that their targeting of Israeli-affiliated vessels in one of the busiest trade lanes in the world is motivated by the Gaza conflict.

Insisting that the US and Britain acted “in self-defence,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that friends would not think twice about ensuring the security of commercial vessels.

But experts warned the strikes elevated the prospect of a larger conflict in the Middle East.

Declaring that “all American-British interests have become legitimate targets for the Yemeni armed forces,” the Supreme Political Council of the Houthis issued a warning.

They referred to the US and the UK as “aggressors” and described the attacks as a “direct and declared aggression against the Republic of Yemen.”

On Friday afternoon, United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations received a report of a missile attack that occurred ninety miles off the coast of Aden, Yemen.

According to the Royal Navy initiative that updates shipping operators on security concerns, the missile touched down 400–500 metres from the ship.

It was not clear what nationality the ship was flying the flag for, as three craft followed. A “transit with caution” advisory was issued to vessels, and no injuries or damage was reported.

According to Mr. Sunak, the number of Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea has significantly increased, endangering lives, upsetting the world economy, and destabilizing the area.

During a trip to Ukraine, he told reporters, “It’s evident that such behaviour is unacceptable right now. For this reason, we joined forces with allies to denounce this behaviour in a very public way.

And for this reason, in order to weaken and disrupt Houthi capabilities, my partners and I decided to take what we deemed to be appropriate, targeted, and essential action against military sites. We won’t think twice about defending people’s lives and making sure commercial shipping is secure.

“We must make it clear that this violation of international law is unacceptable. People cannot behave in this way without consequence, which is why we, along with our allies, have chosen to take this step.

As demands for the Houthis to stop were ignored, allies moved to “de-escalate tensions and restore stability to the region,” according to the prime minister.

“We have acted in self-defence,” he declared. The Houthis now have an obligation to cease these strikes.

On Monday, in the midst of demands for more Parliamentary consultation, Mr. Sunak will address the lawmakers regarding the strikes.

He downplayed complaints that the military action should have been discussed with MPs, claiming to have chaired Cobra and Cabinet meetings on Thursday and briefed John Healy, the shadow defence minister, and Sir Keir Starmer.

Experts cautioned that the strikes may have an inflaming effect; Sophia Gaston, head of international policy at Policy Exchange, a research tank, stated that there is “certainly a risk of wider conflict in the region.”

She stated to the PA news agency: “I believe we will get very rapidly to a position where the Western powers could be pushed into regions that they’re not going to feel very comfortable with, should the Houthis ratchet up their attacks in the aftermath of these strikes.

“The United States and the United Kingdom do not want to be in a situation where we are required to engage beyond a limited targeted strike capacity, and certainly not one that may invite the participation of other regional powers,” the statement reads. “We are moving into a much riskier terrain.”

However, Dr. Tobias Borck, a senior research scholar at the think tank Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), informed PA that the strikes have not altered the possibility of a wider regional war that has persisted since Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on October 7.

But escalation can also occur from mishaps and errors in judgement, or it can simply emerge from risk compounding and the normalisation of extraordinarily high levels of violence, the speaker noted.

According to Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, the strikes conveyed a message to Iran as well as the Houthis.

“I believe that was appropriate, lawful, and the correct thing to do. Additionally, he stated in an interview, “I believe it sends a very clear message to Iran as well as the Houthis.”

The UK Government will acquire assessments of the impact of the move later on Friday, Lord Cameron added.

Labour was “fully supportive,” according to Sir Keir, of the airstrikes.

While stating that his party was “minded” to back the military action, Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, countered that there is a “principle” of legislative consultation prior to such actions.

Recalls of Parliament are “happy to facilitate,” according to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, “at any time,” though the government rarely asks for them.

According to Downing Street, there will be a “positive effect” in the “longer term” from the Houthi strikes, even though they might not make the Red Sea safer for commercial ships right now.

The Government provided a summary of its legal position following the strikes, claiming military involvement “was lawfully taken” and “this was the only feasible means available to deal with such attacks”.

The attacks on Thursday night were the first against the terrorists since they began attacking ships on the vital international trade corridor, which is used by 15% of all shipping worldwide.

According to the Ministry of Defence, on Tuesday, four aircraft from the Royal Air Force targeted two Houthi sites that were involved in their targeting of US Navy vessels and HMS Diamond.

Drones and cruise missiles were launched from two different locations: one at Bani and the other at Abbs Airfield.

According to the US Air Force, it attacked around 60 targets at 16 locations in Yemen, including ammunition storage, air defence systems, and logistics hubs.

They received non-operational help from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.

The US-led operation, according to the Houthis, caused at least five fatalities and six injuries.

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