Red Sea attack: US, UK strike 36 Houthi targets in Yemen

US, UK strike in Yemen.
US, UK strike in Yemen. Photo Courtesy: US Central Command X page

The United States and Britain on Saturday (February 3, 2024) carried out joint air raids in Yemen as a response to repeated attacks on shipping by Iran-backed Houthi rebels that have disrupted global trade.

The joint air raids in Yemen come a day after a wave of unilateral US strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria that were carried out in response to the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan on Jan 28.

The strikes hit “36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen in response to the Huthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea”, both countries said in a statement.

“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Huthis use to threaten global trade, and the lives of innocent mariners,” the statement said.

The assault “targeted sites associated with the Huthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars”.

“These strikes are intended to degrade Houthi capabilities used to continue their reckless and unlawful attacks on U.S. and U.K. ships as well as international commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. These strikes are separate and distinct from the multinational freedom of navigation actions performed under Operation Prosperity Guardian,” the statement added.

On Friday, the US conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against 85 targets linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups, officials confirmed.

“U.S. military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States,” US Central Command said in a statement.

The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions.

“Our response began today,” US President Joe Biden said. “It will continue at times and places of our choosing.”

“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world,” he said. “But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

Anger over Israel’s continuous attacks on Gaza, which began after an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7, has grown across the Middle East, triggering violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.