The United States and Great Briton have begun striking targets associated with the Houthis in Yemen, according to four U.S. officials cited tonight. Submarines, aircraft, and ships have all contributed to the assaults against the Houthis.
According to multiple U.S. officials who spoke to The Associated Press, the U.S. and British militaries conducted a massive retaliatory assault against the Houthis in Yemen on Thursday. Using fighter jets and warship-launched Tomahawk missiles, the strikes targeted over a dozen Houthi centres. They stated that the military targets were among logistical centres, air defence systems, and locations for weapon storage and launch.
Early Friday local time, Associated Press journalists in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, detected four explosions but did not observe any indications of aircraft. Hodeida, the main port city under Houthi control and situated on the Red Sea, was the site of five powerful explosions, according to two locals, Hani Ahmed and Amin Ali Saleh. Taiz, a city located in the southeastern region close to the Red Sea, also reported hearing explosions.
Final Warning to Houthi controlled Yemen
Since the launch of the Israel-Hamas conflict, a persistent campaign of drone and missile assaults against commercial ships has received no military response from the United States until the strikes above occurred.
Furthermore, the coordinated military operation occurred less than a week after the White House and several partner countries issued a final warning to the Houthis, urging them to cease their attacks or risk possible military retaliation.
In order to discuss military operations, the officials affirmed the strikes on the condition of anonymity. An earlier session on Thursday provided members of Congress with an update on the strike arrangements.
The warning appeared to have at least a temporary effect, as attacks ceased for several days. U.S. and British vessels, as well as American fighter aircraft, intercepted 18 Houthi-targeted drones, two cruise missiles, and one anti-ship missile on Tuesday in response to the Houthi rebels’ unprecedented barrage of drones and missiles towards shipping in the Red Sea. A commercial vessel observed the Houthi-launched anti-ship ballistic missile in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday; the missile failed to strike the vessel.
Houthi Leader Taunts the West
On Thursday, the rebels, who have launched 27 assaults since November 19 using dozens of drones and missiles, declared that any American assault on their sites in Yemen would provoke an intense military reaction.
Abdel Malek al-Houthi, the supreme commander of the group, stated during an hour-long speech, “The response to any American attack will not be limited to the operation that was recently conducted with over twenty-four drones and multiple missiles.” “It will surpass that in magnitude.”
The Houthis assert that their attacks in the Gaza Strip are part of an effort to halt Israel’s conflict with Hamas. However, an expanding number of their targets have minimal or negligible ties to Israel and endanger a vital trade route that connects Europe with Asia and the Middle East.
Wednesday, in the interim, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution that condemned Iran, the Houthis’ weapons supplier, and demanded an urgent cessation of hostilities. Four countries—Russia, China, Algeria, and Mozambique—abstained in its favour in the 11-0 vote.
The involvement of the United Kingdom in the assaults highlighted the Biden administration’s determination to combat the Houthis through a broad international coalition, as opposed to appearing to be operating independently. A U.S.-led maritime mission to enhance ship protection in the Red Sea is currently involving the participation of over 20 nations.
While drones and missiles targeted numerous commercial vessels, compelling companies to consider rerouting their vessels, U.S. officials refrained for weeks from indicating when international patience would expire and they would retaliate against the Houthis.
However, U.S. officials issued another warning of repercussions on Wednesday.
Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea
State Secretary Antony Blinken told reporters during a stop in Bahrain, “I have no intention of telegraphing or revealing any potential developments.” He stated that the United States has abundantly clarified that “consequences will ensue if this continues as it did yesterday.” Furthermore, I intend to abandon the matter at that point.”
The Biden administration’s hesitancy to take retaliatory action in recent months primarily stemmed from broader concerns regarding the potential disruption of the fragile truce in Yemen, the instigation of a more extensive conflict in the region, and political sensitivities. To maintain the ceasefire, the White House has refrained from intervening in Yemen in a way that could potentially ignite a new front of conflict.
The United States, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, and Singapore all signed the coalition warning in response to the impact on international shipping and the escalating attacks.
In a distinct development, the United States demanded that the United Nations Security Council intervene on the Houthis’ behalf and issued a warning to their financier, Iran, regarding the continued provision of assistance to the rebels.
From the Suez Canal to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, transit through the Red Sea is an essential maritime route for international trade. The waterway separating the Arabian Peninsula from Africa typically facilitates the passage of 12 per cent of global commerce, including oil, natural gas, grain, and everything from electronics to toys.
The United States established Operation Prosperity Guardian to bolster security in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in response to the attacks. Approximately 22 nations are currently involved in this maritime security mission. Routinely, warships from the United States and other nations have traversed the restricted strait to deter attacks and provide protection for vessels. Additionally, aerial surveillance has been intensified by the coalition.
Dec. 3 saw the collision of three commercial vessels with Houthi-fired missiles in Yemen, which prompted the decision to establish the expanded patrol operation.
Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, the Pentagon augmented its military footprint in the area as a deterrent against Iran’s efforts to escalate the conflict into a regional one, including through the Houthis and militias backed by Iran in Iraq and Syria.