The U.S. and British military forces conducted a significant retaliatory strike against the Iranian-backed Houthi group in Yemen, targeting over a dozen sites. The operation involved warship- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, with more than 60 targets struck at 16 locations in Yemen. The aim was to respond to the Houthi’s continuous attacks on the Red Sea, particularly their use of anti-ship ballistic missiles, endangering maritime vessels and international trade.
President Joe Biden emphasized that the strikes were a direct response to the unprecedented Houthi attacks on international maritime vessels. The move followed diplomatic negotiations and careful deliberation, demonstrating the U.S. and its allies’ unwillingness to tolerate the militant group’s actions. The attacks targeted various facilities, including command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems.
Following a week of warnings, the coordinated military assault aimed to deter the Houthi group from further attacks. Associated Press journalists in Yemen reported hearing explosions in various locations, including the capital Sanaa and the port city of Hodeida. The strikes marked the first U.S. military response to the persistent campaign of drone and missile attacks by the Houthis since the Israel-Hamas war began.
The decision to strike came after a final warning issued by the White House and partner nations to cease attacks, with the Houthi rebels firing their largest-ever barrage of drones and missiles earlier in the week. The retaliatory strikes involved the Royal Air Force in the U.K. and received support from other nations, including the Netherlands, Canada, and Bahrain. The goal was to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping in the Red Sea.
While Russia requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. and its allies emphasized their commitment to defending lives and safeguarding commerce in the critical waterway. The rebels warned of retaliation, with a Houthi official stating that the battle would be significant and beyond the imagination of the Americans and the British. The strikes reportedly hit several locations, including the Al-Dailami Air Base, the airport in Hodeida, a camp east of Saada, the airport in Taiz, and an airport near Hajjah.
The Houthi group, considered a terrorist organization by multiple countries, has engaged in numerous attacks involving drones and missiles. The conflict escalated, prompting the U.S. to create a new maritime security mission, Operation Prosperity Guardian, to enhance security in the Red Sea, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. The region’s importance for global commerce, with about 12% of the world’s trade passing through, led to increased measures to protect shipping and deter further attacks.