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Yemen Conflict Escalates: United States and Britain Launch Strikes Against Houthi Rebel Positions

Yemen Conflicts:

The United States and Britain have launched large-scale attacks against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in retaliation for dozens of recent attacks on ships traveling in international shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media said that U.S. and British military assets attacked more than a dozen Houthi targets on Thursday (January 11), ranging from training grounds and airports to drone storage locations.

“We hit them pretty hard and pretty well,” a U.S. defense official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told the media, adding that the strikes also targeted Houthi radar installations and air defense systems. .

The defense official said the U.S. and British attacks were launched from fighter jets, surface ships, and submarines with help from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain.

The official also said the targets were chosen because they posed a threat to shipping and because no civilians were among them.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a White House statement late Thursday that the attack was “a direct response to the unprecedented Houthi attacks on international shipping” and that diplomatic efforts had been ignored. These attacks were necessary.

“These targeted attacks send a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to jeopardize one of the world’s most important commercial shipping lanes,” Biden said. freedom of navigation. If necessary, I will not hesitate to take further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce.”

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This is when the Houthi armed forces began to attack Israel after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. The group’s targets in Yemen were hit for the first time since the attack on ships in the Red Sea.

Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen have launched 27 attacks since mid-November, including one earlier Thursday using an anti-ship ballistic missile. The missile landed near a merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden and caused no casualties or property damage.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for commanding U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, said that the Houthi armed forces used 18 unidirectional attack drones, two cruise missiles, and one ballistic missile to attack dozens of ships from areas controlled by the Houthi armed forces in Yemen. A sophisticated attack was launched on the Red Sea route, through which merchant ships were passing.

U.S. fighter jets and U.S. and British warships responded by shooting down drones and missiles, preventing damage to ships or injuries to crews in the area.

Ahead of the U.S. and British attacks late Thursday, multiple U.S. officials warned the Houthis and Iran against what they said were reckless and illegal actions.

“There will be consequences,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in response to a question from the media on Thursday. “The Houthis are largely funded and trained by Iran. and its equipment. So we know that Iran has a role to play in helping to stop this reckless, dangerous, and illegal activity,” he said.

Last week, the United States and 12 allies issued a statement warning the Houthis that they would face unspecified consequences if they continued to attack Red Sea shipping.

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Geographical location of the Republic of Yemen and its neighboring countries on the Arabian Peninsula
Geographical location of the Republic of Yemen and its neighboring countries on the Arabian Peninsula

“Let us now make this message clear: we call for an immediate end to these unlawful attacks and the release of ships and crew members unlawfully detained,” said the statement, signed by the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Japan.

Previously, the United States, France, Britain, and nearly 20 other countries launched Operation Prosperity Guardian in mid-December to protect ships from attacks by Houthi armed forces.

Since the launch of Prosperity Guardian, at least 1,500 ships have safely passed through the Bab el-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

The commander of U.S. Navy operations in the Middle East last week called the alliance “the largest surface and air presence in the southern Red Sea in years.” The United Nations Security Council issued a resolution

on Wednesday, calling on the Houthis to immediately cease their attacks. China and Russia abstained. Now, the United States and Britain have backed up these statements with force, but doubts remain about whether they can deter Tehran. “Iran can afford what I would call a rare, in-person end,” retired Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, former commander of U.S. Central Command, said during a webinar on Wednesday. covert operations.” “They choked global shipping in the Bab al-Mand (Strait) at a very low cost to Iran,” he said. But McKenzie believes that even if Iran continues to support the Houthis, the risk of regional escalation is small. “I don’t think the escalation will extend beyond Yemen.

I think it will stay within Yemen. I also think Iran will leave their partners and proxies there to their fate,” he said. This is not the first time the U.S. military has attacked Yemen. A launch site for the Houthis in response to militant attacks on ships in nearby waters. In October 2016, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Nitze fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at three radar stations along Yemen’s Red Sea coast to weaken the Houthis’ ability to track and target ships.

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