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U.S. and U.K. Strike Houthis in Yemen

Sea Viper missiles are fired in the Red Sea from the HMS Diamond on January 10, 2024. U.K. Ministry of Defense
Sea Viper missiles are fired in the Red Sea from the HMS Diamond on January 10, 2024. U.K. Ministry of Defense

The White House announced on Thursday that in response to repeated attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the United States and the United Kingdom carried out strikes against “a number of targets” belonging to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Additional operational support was reported by Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain.

President Biden described the action as being “In direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea, including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.”

The President further stated that he would, “Not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

Local reports have indicated that the military activity has caused the Houthis to abandon their positions in the Yemeni coastal city of Al-Hudaydah, Yemen’s principal port on the Red Sea.

Since Oct. 19, the Houthis have launched an offensive against commercial shipping and Western warships, attempted hijackings, and fired missiles towards the Israeli city of Eilat. The organization has disclosed that their reason for threatening the critical trade route is to support Hamas in its war with Israel.

The result of the terror campaign has caused many ocean transportation companies to avoid the Red Sea in its entirety and to redirect their vessels to the longer and more expensive route around Africa.

The U.S. Navy, with the assistance of a French frigate, has been attempting to provide seaborne security in the region since October. Yesterday’s incursion was the first time that any Western forces attempted to remediate the situation with a direct reaction against Houthi military infrastructure.

The Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, responded to the intervention by declaring that “Any American attack will not remain without a response. The response will be greater than the attack that was carried out with twenty drones and a number of missiles.”

Most of the munitions that are used by the Yemen based organization is procured with assistance from the regime in Tehran.

Related Story: How the Islamic Republic of Iran Uses Technology to Support the Houthis

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