US, UK strike dozens of Houthi targets in Yemen

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Washington: The United States and Britain struck dozens of targets in Yemen on Saturday in response to repeated attacks on shipping by Iran-backed Houthi rebels that have disrupted global trade and put lives at risk.

The joint air raids in Yemen come a day after a wave of unilateral American strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria that were carried out in response to the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan on January 28.

The 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 other countries that provided support for the operation said in a statement.

“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, and the lives of innocent mariners,” the statement said.

The assault “targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars.”

US forces earlier Saturday separately carried out strikes against six Houthi anti-ship missiles that were “prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea,” the Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

The military command also said Saturday that US forces shot down eight drones near Yemen the day before and destroyed four more before they could be launched.

CENTCOM said the four drones hit on the ground belonged to the Houthis but did not identify a country or group linked to those that were shot out of the air.

The Houthis began targeting Red Sea shipping in November, saying they were hitting Israel-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza, which has been ravaged by the Israel-Hamas war.

US and British forces have responded with strikes against the Houthis, who have since declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.

In addition to strikes against the Houthis, the United States set up a multinational naval task force aimed at protecting shipping on the transit route, which carries up to 12 percent of global trade.

Anger over Israel’s devastating campaign in Gaza – which began after an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 – has grown across the Middle East, stoking violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Last weekend, a drone slammed into a base in Jordan, killing three US soldiers and wounding more than 40 – an attack Washington blamed on Iran-backed forces.

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

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