The United States and the United Kingdom have launched missile strikes against more than a dozen Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the terrorist organization’s ‘increased attacks’ on cargo ships.
US and British warplanes carried out “specifically necessary and proportionate strikes against 18 Houthi targets in eight locations in Yemen,” the Pentagon confirmed.
The joint operation targeted weapons storage facilities, drones, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter. and other unmanned surface vehicles and submarines.
The Houthis have launched at least 57 attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since Nov. 19, and the pace has accelerated in recent days.
President Joe Biden and other senior leaders have repeatedly warned that the United States will not tolerate Houthi attacks on commercial shipping. UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps reiterated that it is “our duty to protect lives at sea and preserve freedom of navigation.”
But the counterattacks do not appear to slow the Houthis’ campaign against shipping in the region, which militants say is due to Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Smoke rises from a Houthi position following US and UK strikes in Sanaa, Yemen, February 24, 2024. US and British warplanes carried out “necessary and proportionate strikes specifically targeting 18 Houthi targets in eight locations in Yemen,” according to the Pentagon. confirmed
The United States and Britain carried out new attacks on Yemen’s Houthi positions in the capital Sanaa in response to increased Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
The joint operation targeted weapons storage facilities, drones, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter, as well as other unmanned surface vehicles and submarines. Pictured: Smoke over Sana’a, Yemen, on February 24, 2024.
The United States and Britain launched the counteroffensive in response to increased Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including a missile attack last week that set a cargo ship on fire.
“We have certainly seen in the last 48 to 72 hours an increase in Houthi attacks,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in a briefing Thursday. And she acknowledged that the Houthis have not been deterred.
“We never said we had wiped all their capabilities off the map,” he told reporters. ‘We know that the Houthis maintain a large arsenal. They are very capable. “They have sophisticated weapons and that is because they continue to acquire them from Iran.”
There have been at least 32 US strikes in Yemen over the past month and a half; some were carried out with the participation of allies. Additionally, U.S. warships have shot down dozens of missiles, rockets and drones that targeted commercial and other Navy ships.
Earlier on Saturday, the destroyer USS Mason shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden, U.S. Central Command said, adding that the missile was likely targeting the MV Torm Thor, a US flag ship. Owned and operated oil and chemical tanker.
US strikes against the Houthis have targeted more than 120 launchers, more than 10 surface-to-air missiles, 40 storage and support buildings, 15 drone storage buildings, more than 20 aerial, surface and non-submarine vehicles. manned and several underground storage areas. and some other facilities.
The rebels’ supreme leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, last week announced an “escalation of maritime operations” carried out by his forces as part of what they describe as a pressure campaign to end Israel’s war. against Hamas.
But while the group says the attacks are aimed at stopping that war, the Houthis’ targets have become more random, endangering a vital waterway for cargo and energy shipments traveling from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.
During normal operations, around 400 commercial vessels transit the southern Red Sea at any given time. While the Houthi attacks have actually only hit a small number of vessels, persistent attacks and near misses that have been shot down by the United States and its allies have led shipping companies to divert their vessels from the Red Sea.
On February 23, 2024, US Central Command released a photograph of the M/V Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-owned bulk carrier, leaking oil in the Gulf of Aden after sustaining significant damage after of an attack by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists on February 18, which caused an 18-mile oil spill.
Instead, they have been sent around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope, a much longer, more expensive and less efficient journey.
The threats have also prompted the United States and its allies to establish a joint mission where warships from participating nations provide a protective air defense umbrella for ships as they travel between the Suez Canal and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. .
In Thursday’s attack in the Gulf of Aden, the Houthis fired two missiles at a Palauan-flagged cargo ship called the Islander, according to Central Command. A European naval force in the region said the attack caused a fire and injured a sailor aboard the ship, although the ship continued on its way.
Central Command launched strikes against Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen on Friday, destroying seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that the military said were prepared to launch toward the Red Sea.
Central Command also said Saturday that a Houthi attack on a Belize-flagged ship on Feb. 18 caused an 18-mile oil spill and the military warned of the danger of a spill from the ship’s fertilizer cargo.
The Rubymar, a British-registered and Lebanese-operated cargo ship, was attacked while sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
The missile attack forced the crew to abandon the ship, which was heading to Bulgaria after leaving the United Arab Emirates. She was transporting more than 41,000 tons of fertilizer, according to a statement from Central Command.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government has called on other countries and maritime protection organizations to quickly address the oil spill and avoid “a significant environmental disaster.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.