Houthis vow retaliation after US, UK strikes on Yemen

AFP , Sunday 4 Feb 2024

Yemen's Houthis said Sunday US and British air strikes "will not deter us" and vowed a retaliation after dozens of sites were hit.

In this image provided the Ministry of Defence, an RAF Typhoon aircraft takes off to conduct further strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen, from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, Saturday, Feb.2024. AP


The joint air raids in Yemen late Saturday followed a separate wave of unilateral American strikes against groups in Iraq and Syria, following a drone attack that killed three US soldiers in Jordan.

It is the third time that British and American forces have jointly attacked Yemen and the Houthis, whose actions in solidarity with Palestinians in war-battered Gaza have disrupted trade in the Red Sea.

The United States has also carried out a series of air raids against the Yemeni rebels on its own, but their attacks on the vital Red Sea trade route have persisted.

Saturday's strikes hit "36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen in response to the Houthis' continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea", the United States, Britain and few countries that provided support for the operation said in a statement.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes "are intended to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilising attacks".

Neither Austin nor the joint statement identified the specific places that were hit, but Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said the capital Sanaa and other rebel-held areas were targeted.

Saree reported a total of 48 air strikes, and said on social media platform X that "these attacks will not deter us from our... stance in support of the steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," where the Israeli war has raged since early October.

The latest strikes "will not pass without response and punishment", Saree said.

 Meeting 'escalation with escalation' 

Britain's defence ministry said Royal Air Force Typhoon warplanes struck sites including two ground control stations used to operate attack and reconnaissance drones.

Austin said that "coalition forces targeted 13 locations associated with the Houthis' deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defence systems, and radars".

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Separately, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said its forces carried out a strike against a Houthi anti-ship missile that "prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea" early Sunday.

CENTCOM had earlier launched strikes against six other Houthi anti-ship missiles, and on Friday the US military said its forces had shot down eight drones in and near Yemen.

Huthi spokesman Nasr al-Din Amer said following the Saturday strikes: "We will meet the escalation with escalation."


Anger over Israel's devastating war in Gaza has grown across the Middle East, stoking violence involving armed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

On January 28, a drone slammed into a base in Jordan, killing three US soldiers and wounding more than 40 -- an attack Washington blamed on Tehran-aligned forces.

The United States responded Friday with strikes against dozens of targets at seven facilities in Iraq and Syria, but did not hit Iranian territory.

Both the Iraqi and Syrian governments condemned the Friday strikes, while Tehran said they would "have no result other than intensifying tension and instability".

Diplomatic sources have said the UN Security Council would convene Monday, after Russia called for a meeting "over the threat to peace and safety created by US strikes on Syria and Iraq".

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