April 17, 2024

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The American and British strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen are a response to the rise of militants in the Red Sea

The American and British strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen are a response to the rise of militants in the Red Sea

Washington (AFP) – The United States and Britain struck 18 Houthi Goals in Yemen on Saturday, in response to a recent surge in attacks by Iranian-backed militias on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including a missile strike last week. They set fire to a cargo ship.

According to American officials, American and British fighter jets bombed sites in eight locations, targeting missiles, launchers, missiles, drones, and air defense systems. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to provide early details about the ongoing military operation.

This is it The fourth time that the American and British armies The United States has conducted a joint operation against the Houthis since January 12. But the United States also carries out near-daily strikes to eliminate Houthi targets, including incoming missiles and drones targeting ships, as well as weapons that were ready to go.

Officials said that the US F/A-18 fighter jets took off from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, currently in the Red Sea.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said: “The United States will not hesitate to take action, as needed, to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most important waterways.” He added: “We will continue to make clear to the Houthis that they will bear the consequences if they do not stop their illegal attacks.”

The Houthis condemned the “American-British aggression” and pledged to continue their military operation in response. The Yemeni Armed Forces said in a statement: “The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm that they will confront the American-British escalation with more qualitative military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arabian Sea in defense of our country, our people, and our nation.”

The US, UK and other allies said in a statement that “necessary and proportionate strikes specifically targeted 18 Houthi targets in 8 locations in Yemen” which also included underground storage facilities, radar and a helicopter.

In this satellite image provided by Planet Labs, the Belize-flagged bulk carrier Rubimar in the southern Red Sea near the Gulf of Mandeb Strait is seen leaking oil after an attack by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. Although… A month after US-led airstrikes, Iran-backed Houthi rebels are still able to launch major attacks. This week, they seriously damaged a ship in a critical strait, and appear to have shot down a US drone worth tens of millions of dollars. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that RAF Typhoon aircraft participated in “precision strikes” aimed at destroying Houthi drones and their launch pads. Shapps said this came after “violent Houthi attacks against commercial ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including against the British-owned MV Islander and the MV Rubymar, forcing the crew to abandon ship.” This is the fourth time that Britain has joined US-led strikes.

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The strikes are supported by the broader coalition, which includes Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

President Joe Biden and other senior leaders have repeatedly warned that the United States will not tolerate Houthi attacks against commercial shipping. But counterattacks It didn't seem to diminish The Houthi campaign against navigation in the region, which the militants say has ended Israel's war against Hamas In the Gaza Strip.

“Our goal remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but we will once again reiterate our warning to the Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to continue defending lives and the free flow of trade in the face of continuing threats.” Saturday's statement said.

The Houthis have launched at least 57 attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 19, and the pace of the attack has accelerated in recent days.

“We have certainly seen over the last 48 or 72 hours an increase in Houthi attacks,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in a press conference on Thursday. She admitted that the Houthis were not deterred.

“We never said we wiped all their capabilities off the map,” she told reporters. “We know that the Houthis maintain a large arsenal. They are very capable. “They have advanced weapons, and that is because they continue to get them from Iran.”

There have been at least 32 US airstrikes in Yemen over the past month and a half; A few of them were conducted with Allied participation. In addition, US warships have shot down dozens of missiles, missiles and drones targeting commercial and other naval vessels.

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Earlier on Saturday, the destroyer USS Mason shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen towards the Gulf of Aden, US Central Command said, adding that the missile was likely targeting the US-owned ship MV Torm Thor. United. And operating a chemical and oil tanker.

The US attacks on the Houthis targeted more than 120 launching pads, more than 10 surface-to-air missiles, 40 storage and support buildings, 15 drone storage buildings, more than 20 unmanned aerial, surface and underwater vehicles, and many underground storage areas. And a few other facilities.

Last week, the rebel supreme leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, announced an “escalation in naval operations” carried out by his forces as part of what they described as a pressure campaign to end the Israeli war on Hamas.

But while the group says the attacks are aimed at stopping that war, the Houthis' targets have become more indiscriminate, endangering a vital waterway for shipping and energy shipments traveling from Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

During normal operations, approximately 400 commercial ships transit the southern Red Sea at any given time. While the Houthi attacks have actually only hit a small number of ships, continued targeting and near misses by the United States and its allies have prompted shipping companies to reroute their ships from the Red Sea.

Instead, they sent them around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope, a much longer, more expensive and less efficient route. The threats also prompted the United States and its allies to establish a joint mission in which warships from participating countries provide a protective air defense umbrella for ships as they travel between the Suez Canal and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

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Central Command said that the Houthis fired two missiles in the attack that occurred on Thursday in the Gulf of Aden, on a Palau-flagged cargo ship called the Islander. A European naval force in the area said that the attack led to a fire and the injury of a sailor on board the ship, although the ship continued on its way.

The Central Command launched attacks on Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen on Friday, destroying seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that the army said were prepared to launch them towards the Red Sea.

Central Command also said on Saturday that a Houthi attack on a Belize-flagged ship on February 18 caused an 18-mile (29-kilometer) oil slick and oil spill. The army warned of the risk of fertilizer leakage from the ship's cargo. Rubymar, a cargo ship registered in Britain and operated by Lebanon, Assault him While sailing through the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The missile attack forced the crew to abandon the ship, which was on its way to Bulgaria after leaving Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates. It was transporting more than 41 thousand tons of fertilizer, according to a statement from the Central Command.

The Associated Press, relying on satellite images taken by Planet Labs PBC of the stricken ship, reported on Tuesday that the ship was leaking oil in the Red Sea.

On Saturday, the internationally recognized Yemeni government called on other countries and marine protection organizations to quickly address the oil spill and avoid a “major environmental disaster.”

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Associated Press writer Sami Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.