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12/01/24 | 9:49 am

U.S. and British strikes target Houthis in Yemen amid escalating regional tensions

The United States and Britain have launched strikes from both air and sea against Houthi military targets in Yemen. This action was taken in response to the Houthi movement's attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which further escalates the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Witnesses in Yemen reported explosions throughout the country, confirming the strikes. President Joe Biden issued a statement, cautioning that further action would be taken if necessary. He said that these targeted strikes send a clear message that the United States and its partners will not tolerate attacks on personnel or allow hostile actors to jeopardize freedom of navigation.

Britain’s ministry of defence stated that early indications suggest the Houthis' ability to threaten merchant shipping has been significantly weakened. The Iran-backed Houthis claim that their attacks on shipping routes in the Red Sea are in support of the Palestinians and Hamas, the Islamist group controlling Gaza.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, currently in the hospital due to surgery complications, said that the strikes targeted Houthi capabilities, including drones, ballistic and cruise missiles, coastal radar, and air surveillance. A Houthi official labeled the strikes as “American-Zionist-British aggression,” confirming raids in various locations.

There are concerns of escalation, with experts warning about the risk of drawing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates into the confrontation. Saudi Arabia, in a statement, called for restraint and urged to avoid escalation.


The United States accused Iran of being operationally involved in the Houthi attacks, providing military capabilities and intelligence. The strikes, supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, aim to restore the free flow of trade in a key route between Europe and Asia, accounting for about 15% of the world's shipping traffic.

While the U.S. insists there is no intent to escalate tensions, the Houthis have vowed to retaliate to any attack. The strikes, the first on Yemeni territory since 2016, underscore Washington's challenge in containing the fallout of the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Middle East.

The Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping routes have disrupted international commerce, forcing ships to take longer routes and raising concerns about increased delivery costs and global inflation.

The U.S. and British strikes in Yemen occurred after the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden.

Anti-war activists protested the strikes in Times Square and outside the White House, expressing concerns about the potential widening of the conflict in Gaza. The demonstrators called for “hands off the Middle East,” “hands off Yemen,” and “hands off Gaza,” waving Palestinian flags and carrying banners reading “Free Palestine” and “stop bombing Yemen.”

(Inputs from Reuters)


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