US and UK Launch Massive Strike Against Iranian-Backed Houthis in Yemen
The United States and the United Kingdom jointly conducted a massive retaliatory strike against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. The military operation, executed on Thursday, employed warship- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, targeting more than a dozen Houthi sites. This decisive response comes in the wake of relentless Houthi attacks on international maritime vessels in the Red Sea.
The U.S. Air Force’s Mideast command revealed that the strikes hit over 60 targets at 16 sites in Yemen, including command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems. President Joe Biden emphasized that the military action aims to demonstrate that the U.S. and its allies will not tolerate the continued assaults by the Houthi militant group. The strikes were executed following diplomatic negotiations and careful consideration after the Houthis employed anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.
The attacks on Yemen mark the first U.S. military response to the persistent campaign of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships, coinciding with the Israel-Hamas war. The coordinated assault occurred a week after the White House and allied nations issued a final warning to the Houthis, urging them to cease attacks or face potential military consequences. The strikes were carried out using Tomahawk missiles from Navy destroyers and a submarine, alongside warplanes based on the Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and Air Force fighter jets.
Eyewitnesses and residents in Yemen reported explosions in cities such as Sanaa, Hodieda, Taiz, and Dhamar, indicating the widespread nature of the strikes. The Houthis, who have carried out numerous drone and missile attacks since November 19, warned of a fierce military response if their sites were targeted by U.S. forces.
President Biden justified the military action, stating that the Houthi attacks posed a significant threat to international maritime vessels, endangering U.S. personnel and civilian mariners while jeopardizing global trade. The strikes targeted key Houthi military facilities and aimed to degrade their capabilities.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the Royal Air Force’s participation in the targeted strikes against Houthi military facilities. The U.K. echoed the U.S. sentiment, emphasizing that the action was limited, necessary, and proportionate, taken in self-defense to protect global shipping.
International support for the retaliatory strikes came from governments including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Korea. While the collective aim is to de-escalate tensions in the Red Sea and restore stability, the allied nations expressed a commitment to defending lives and protecting commerce in the critical waterway.
However, Russia requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the strikes, while France, the current council president, confirmed the meeting would take place on Friday afternoon.
As the situation unfolds, there is anticipation of potential Houthi retaliation. The U.S. expects that the strikes will degrade Houthi capabilities, but officials acknowledge the possibility of a response. The international community’s response underscores the gravity of the Houthi threat to maritime security and global trade through vital shipping lanes. The unfolding events in Yemen are likely to have broader geopolitical implications, requiring careful monitoring in the days to come.