US and UK launch fourth round of strikes on Yemen’s Houthis - Hindustan Times
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US and UK launch fourth round of strikes on Yemen’s Houthis to protect Red Sea trade

Feb 25, 2024 12:32 PM IST

Joint US-UK airstrikes in Yemen target Houthi rebels, aiming to safeguard the vital Red Sea trade route.

On Saturday, US and UK warplanes has launched a joint attack on 18 sites in Yemen controlled by the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran. This was the fourth such operation by the two allies, who said they aimed to “further degrade” the Houthi’s ability to threaten shipping in the vital Red Sea trade route.

 US and British forces carried out a fresh wave of strikes February 24, against 18 Huthi targets in Yemen, a joint statement said, following weeks of unrelenting attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Iran-backed rebels. (Photo by Handout / US Central Command (CENTCOM) / AFP) / (AFP)
US and British forces carried out a fresh wave of strikes February 24, against 18 Huthi targets in Yemen, a joint statement said, following weeks of unrelenting attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Iran-backed rebels. (Photo by Handout / US Central Command (CENTCOM) / AFP) / (AFP)

The Pentagon said in a joint statement that the strikes targeted Houthi facilities related to underground and missile storage, drones, air defence, radars, and a helicopter.

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The statement quoted the US as saying that the strikes were “necessary and proportionate” and that they were meant to “disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, naval vessels, and the lives of innocent mariners in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”

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US 'will not hesitate to take action'

The statement also said that the Houthi’s “more than 45 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November” posed a risk to the global economy, regional security and stability, and required an international response. The statement added that the strikes were carried out “with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand”.

Following the strikes, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the US “will not hesitate to take action, as needed, to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways”. He also said that the US was committed to supporting its partners in the region and ensuring the security of the Red Sea.

UK had a duty to protect lives at sea'

Meanwhile, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said that the UK had a duty to “protect lives at sea and preserve freedom of navigation”. He said that the Royal Air Force had participated in a “fourth wave of precision strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen” to achieve that goal.

The US military also said that it had earlier destroyed seven Houthi mobile anti-ship missiles that were being readied for attacks. The Houthi rebels have been launching attacks on vessels in the Red Sea that they claim are linked to Israel and the West, in retaliation for the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

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The Houthi rebels have been fighting a civil war in Yemen since 2014, when they seized the capital Sanaa and large parts of the country. They have been facing a Saudi-led coalition that supports the internationally recognized government of Yemen. The war has caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, with millions of people facing famine, disease, and displacement.

The Red Sea is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes, connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also a strategic chokepoint for oil and gas exports from the Middle East. Any disruption or escalation of conflict in the region could have serious consequences for global trade and energy supplies.

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