US, Allies Conduct Airstrikes on Houthis in Yemen

Biden Says 'Will Not Hesitate to Order Further Action'

Team Parvasi – Inside

US, Allies Conduct Airstrikes on Houthis in Yemen

Washington D.C.: The US and British militaries bombed more than a dozen sites used by the Houthis in Yemen on Thursday, in a massive airstrike using warship-launched long-range missiles and fighter jets.

The strikes marked the first US military response to the persistent campaign of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships since the start of the Israel-Hamas. The military targets included logistical hubs, air defense systems and weapons storage locations, several US officials told media.

US President Joe Biden said that American and British forces had successfully carried out air strikes against Houthis in “defensive action” after attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. In a statement, Biden said the strikes on the Iran-backed group were carried out with “support” from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, adding that he “will not hesitate” to order further action if needed.

The coordinated military assault comes just a week after the White House and a host of partner nations issued a final warning to the Houthis to cease the attacks or face potential military action. The officials confirmed the strikes on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations. The warning appeared to have had at least some short-lived impact, as attacks stopped for several days.

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On Tuesday, however, the Houthi rebels fired their largest-ever barrage of drones and missiles targeting shipping in the Red Sea, with US and British ships and American fighter jets responding by shooting down 18 drones, two cruise missiles and an anti-ship missile. And on Thursday, the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into the Gulf of Aden, which was seen by a commercial ship but did not hit the ship.

The rebels, who have carried out 27 attacks involving dozens of drones and missiles just since Nov. 19, said Thursday that any attack by American forces on its sites in Yemen will spark a fierce military response. “The response to any American attack will not only be at the level of the operation that was recently carried out with more than 24 drones and several missiles,” said Abdel Malek al-Houthi, the group’s supreme leader, during an hour-long speech. “It will be greater than that.”

The Houthis say their assaults are aimed at stopping Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But their targets increasingly have little or no connection to Israel and imperil a crucial trade route linking Asia and the Middle East with Europe. The UN Security Council passed a resolution Wednesday that demanded the Houthis immediately cease the attacks and implicitly condemned their weapons supplier, Iran. It was approved by a vote of 11-0 with four abstentions.

Britain’s participation in the strikes underscored the Biden administration’s effort to use a broad international coalition to battle the Houthis, rather than appear to be going it alone. More than 20 nations are already participating in a U.S.-led maritime mission to increase ship protection in the Red Sea.

U.S. officials for weeks had declined to signal when international patience would run out and they would strike back at the Houthis, even as multiple commercial vessels were struck by missiles and drones, prompting companies to look at rerouting their ships.

On Wednesday, however, U.S. officials again warned of consequences. “I’m not going to telegraph or preview anything that might happen,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters during a stop in Bahrain. He said the U.S. has made clear “that if this continues as it did yesterday, there will be consequences. And I’m going to leave it at that.”

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