U.S. and U.K. launch strikes on Houthi fighting positions in Yemen

On the night of January 12, the US and UK armed forces launched a series of missile strikes on Houthi-affiliated targets in Yemen.

This came after Houthi militants, under the pretext of intercepting ships bound for Israel, had for months obstructed shipping in the Red Sea, through which up to 20% of the world’s traffic passes.

Bahrain, Australia, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada also took part in the U.S.-U.K. operation.

“The United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to jeopardize freedom of navigation on one of the most important commercial routes in the world. I will not hesitate to take further action, if necessary, to protect our people and the free flow of international trade”, U.S. President Joe Biden said.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also confirmed the strikes. According to him, Houthi militants attacked British ships, and repeated warnings from the international community failed to change the situation. He called the coalition’s actions self-defense.

The blasts hit the Yemeni capital Sanaa, as well as several cities, Hodeidah, Saada, Dhamar and Taiz. The strikes targeted radars, air defense systems, warehouses and drone and missile launch sites, the U.S. Central Command said. According to CNN, the US used long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles and, for the first time ever, anti-ship ballistic missiles. These were the U.S. military’s first strikes against the Houthis since 2016.

A total of 27 attacks on ships in the Red Sea have been carried out since November by the Houthis, who support the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip, which is at war with Israel. In total, more than 50 nations have been affected by the militants’ actions, and crews from more than 20 countries have been threatened or taken hostage. Because of this, 2,000 ships were forced to change routes. On January 9, the Houthis launched the largest attack, targeting U.S. ships, Biden emphasized.

In early January, 13 states warned the Houthis of the consequences if the attacks on shipping continued. The UN Security Council in the middle of the month adopted a resolution demanding to stop attacking merchant ships. Eleven countries voted in favor of it, with no votes against, while Russia, Algeria and Mozambique abstained. The document said the Houthis should “immediately cease all attacks that impede global trade, the rights and freedoms of navigation, and regional peace”.

Yemen’s Foreign Ministry called the strikes on the country an “aggressive attack”. For his part, Abdullah bin Amer, a spokesman for the Houthi leadership, warned: if the US and Britain continue shelling Yemen, their military bases in the Middle East will be hit.

“America and Britain will have to be ready to pay a high price and bear all the terrible consequences of this blatant aggression,” said Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi.


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