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U.S., UK launch strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen


 , Updated 15:19, 12-Jan-2024

The U.S. and its allies have launched strikes against targets in Yemen linked to Houthi rebels, the group that has targeted international shipping in the Red Sea since late last year.

The military action was taken in coordination with the UK and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement late on Thursday.

The strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea, he said.

"These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world's most critical commercial routes," said Biden.

Photo shows explosion after air strikes in Sanaa, capitol of Yemen, January 12, 2024. /Xinhua
Photo shows explosion after air strikes in Sanaa, capitol of Yemen, January 12, 2024. /Xinhua

Photo shows explosion after air strikes in Sanaa, capitol of Yemen, January 12, 2024. /Xinhua

The UK's Ministry of Defense said in a statement that "early indications are that the Houthis' ability to threaten merchant shipping has taken a blow."

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that the Royal Air Force participated in the attacks on "facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen." He also urged the Houthis to cease their attacks in the Red Sea.

A Houthi official confirmed raids were conducted on several Yemeni cities in the early hours of Friday. "American-Zionist-British aggression against Yemen launches several raids on the capital, Sanaa, Hodeidah governorate, Saada, and Dhamar," Houthi official Abdul Qader al-Mortada said on X. 

The allied airstrikes came hours after the Houthi fighters launched a ballistic missile at a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, according to a post by the U.S. Central Command on X.

"This is the 27th Houthi attack on international shipping since Nov. 19," the U.S. Central Command added.

The U.S. and allies said in a joint statement that the strikes were "in accordance with the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense."

"These precision strikes were intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of international mariners in one of the world's most critical waterways," according to the statement.

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday demanded Yemen's Houthis immediately end attacks on ships in the Red Sea and cautioned against escalating tensions. A Houthi spokesperson in Yemen dismissed the UN resolution as a "political game."

(With input from agencies)

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