The United States and Britain launched strikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen, in the second day of major U.S. operations against Iran-linked groups following a deadly attack on American troops last weekend.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry calls strikes ‘a flagrant violation’ of international lawThomson Reuters
· Posted: Feb 04, 2024 8:34 AM EST | Last Updated: February 4
A Tomahawk land attack missile is launched late Saturday from the U.S. Navy’s USS Gravely against what the U.S. military describe as Houthi military targets in Yemen. (U.S. Central Command/Reuters)The United States and Britain launched strikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen, in the second day of major U.S. operations against Iran-linked groups following a deadly attack on American troops last weekend.
The strikes late on Saturday hit buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers and other capabilities the Houthis have used to attack Red Sea shipping, the Pentagon said, adding it targeted 13 locations across the country.
They are the latest blows in a conflict that has spread into the Middle East since Oct. 7, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas stormed Israel from the Gaza Strip, igniting a war that has drawn Tehran-backed groups into attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets on several fronts.
The Houthis did not announce any casualties.
Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the strikes “will not pass without a response and consequences.”
A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 aircraft is prepared for takeoff as part of the latest strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen, at RAF military airbase Akrotiri in Cyprus on Saturday. (Cpl. Samantha Drummee/U.K. Ministry of Defence/The Associated Press)”The building I live in shook,” said Fatimah, a resident of Houthi-controlled Sana’a, adding that it had been years since she had felt such blasts in a country that has suffered years of war.
The U.S.-British strikes will not affect the Houthis’ decision to show support for Gaza as the territory undergoes heavy bombardment from Israeli forces in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam said in a statement on Sunday.
Abdulsalam added it will not be easy to destroy Yemeni military capabilities, which have been rebuilt during years of tough conflict.
The Yemen strikes are running parallel to an unfolding U.S. campaign of retaliation over the killing of three American soldiers in a drone strike by Iran-backed militants on an outpost in Jordan a week ago.
On Friday, the U.S. carried out the first wave of that retaliation, striking in Iraq and Syria more than 85 targets linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and militias it backs, reportedly killing nearly 40.
Canada has supporting role in strikesThe Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) says Canada was among several allies that provided support to the U.S. and U.K. during their latest strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.
Canada issued a statement released jointly Saturday with the U.S., U.K., Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand saying their militaries “conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes … in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea.”
The countries say their aim is to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but they will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce.
WATCH | Red Sea tensions affecting supply chain:
Red Sea tensions forcing longer shipping routes, affecting supply chainHouthi rebels from Yemen are targeting shipping vessels in the Red Sea, forcing ships to take a longer route around the Horn of Africa and affecting supply chains in North America.
In a statement last month, the DND said about 20 personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are part of the mission, mostly in intelligence and planning roles, but no CAF assets were used to conduct strikes against Houthi positions.
The violence has added to concerns of the potential for further escalation. Iran, a supporter of Hamas, has so far avoided any direct role in the conflict, even as groups it backs have entered the fray from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
Iran doesn’t want escalation, analyst saysMahjoob Zweiri, director of the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University, did not expect a change in Iran’s approach even after the latest U.S. strikes.
“They keep the enemy behind the borders, far away. They are not interested in any direct military confrontation which might lead to attacks on their cities or their homeland. They will maintain that status quo,” he told Reuters.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the latest attacks on Yemen were “a flagrant violation of international law by the United States and Britain,” warning the continuation of such attacks was a “worrying threat to international peace and security.”
The Pentagon has said it does not want war with Iran and does not believe Tehran wants war either. U.S. Republicans have been putting pressure on President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to deal a blow to Iran directly.
The Houthis, who control swaths of Yemen, say their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians as Israel strikes Gaza. The U.S. and its allies characterize them as indiscriminate and a menace to global trade.
WATCH | U.S. designates Houthis ‘terrorists’ again after Red Sea attacks:
U.S. to designate Houthis ‘terrorists’ again. Now what? | About ThatThe Biden administration will re-list the Houthis as Specially Designated Global Terrorists following a barrage of attacks on commercial shipping vessels and U.S. warships in the Red Sea. Andrew Chang breaks down what this designation could mean for the group, and for the Yemeni people living through one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
More than a dozen U.S. strikesMajor shipping lines have largely abandoned Red Sea shipping lanes for longer routes around Africa. This has increased costs, feeding worries about global inflation while denying Egypt crucial foreign revenue from use of the Suez Canal.
The U.S. has carried out more than a dozen strikes against Houthi targets in the past several weeks.
Sarea, the Houthi spokesperson, suggested in a statement on social media that the group would press on.
“These attacks will not deter us from our ethical, religious and humanitarian stance in support of the resilient Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” Sarea said.
Just hours before the latest major wave of strikes from the sea and air, the U.S. military’s Central Command detailed other, more limited strikes in the past day that included hitting six cruise missiles the Houthis were preparing to launch against ships in the Red Sea.
Around 4 a.m. in Yemen on Sunday, the U.S. military also struck a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile poised to launch.
With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News