US and UK strike Houthi sites in Yemen amid surge in Red Sea attacks on ships

Rebel group attacking commercial and military ships in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in solidarity with Palestinians in Israel’s war

The US and Britain struck more than a dozen Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday, in response to a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including a missile strike that set fire to a cargo vessel.

American and British fighter jets hit about 18 sites across multiple locations, targeting missiles, launchers, rockets, drones and unmanned surface and underwater vehicles, according to US officials.

This was the fourth time the US and British militaries have conducted a combined operation against the Houthis since January.

But the US has also been carrying out almost daily strikes to take out Houthi targets, including incoming missiles and drones aimed at ships, as well as weapons that were prepared to launch.


The US fighter jets launched from the USS Dwight D Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea.

US president Joe Biden and other senior leaders have repeatedly warned that the US will not tolerate Houthi attacks against commercial shipping. But the counterattacks have not appeared to diminish the Houthis’ campaign against shipping in the region, which the militants say is over Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Yemen’s Houthis targeted MV Torm Thor, a US-flagged, owned, and operated oil tanker, in the Gulf of Aden, the Iran-aligned group’s military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Sunday, as the militants continue to attack shipping lanes in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The group has launched at least 57 attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since last November, and the pace has picked up in recent days.

The rebels’ leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, announced this past week an “escalation in sea operations” conducted by his forces as part of what they describe as a pressure campaign to end Israel’s war on Hamas.

During normal operations, about 400 commercial vessels transit the southern Red Sea at any given time. While the Houthi attacks have struck only a small number of vessels, the persistent targeting and near misses that have been shot down by the US and allies have prompted shipping companies to reroute their vessels from the Red Sea.

Instead, they have sent them around Africa through the Cape of Good Hope – a much longer, costlier and less efficient passage. – AP/Reuters