Joint UK and US Airstrikes on Houthi Targets in Yemen: Defence Secretary Emphasizes Defensive Nature
In response to the recent strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has asserted that these actions do not signify an escalation of the conflict. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that RAF Typhoon jets targeted three sites on Saturday night, as part of the third wave of joint operations between the UK and US against the Iran-backed group. The strikes follow US attacks on sites in Syria and Iraq on Friday, prompted by a deadly assault on a US military base.
On Saturday, a coalition comprising the UK, US, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand executed air strikes on 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen. The Houthis had previously targeted ships they claimed were linked to Israel and the West, traversing the vital Red Sea trade route.
Defence Secretary Shapps emphasized that the latest strikes aim to protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation, categorically denying any escalation in hostilities. He expressed confidence that the strikes have further degraded the capabilities of the Houthis. The coalition, acting in response to continued attacks on ships in the Red Sea, specifically targeted sites associated with deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers, air defense systems, and radars, according to a joint statement from the participating countries.
RAF Typhoon FGR4s from RAF Akrotiri Strike Houthi Targets: Ministry of Defence
RAF Typhoon FGR4s, deployed from the RAF Akrotiri military base in Cyprus, were instrumental in targeting three specific locations, according to the Ministry of Defence. These targets, situated in As Salif, Al Munirah, and Bani, were identified through meticulous intelligence analysis. The UK believes two of the stations targeted were used to control Houthi drones. The Ministry of Defence emphasized that the air strikes were very carefully planned to minimize the risk of civilian casualties.
US Secretary of Defense Warns Houthis of Further Consequences Amid Ongoing Strikes
In response to the recent joint action targeting Houthi positions in Yemen, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin conveyed a strong message to the Houthis. He asserted that if the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea persist, they will “continue to bear further consequences.” This joint effort followed the US’s own strikes in Syria and Iraq, directed at an Iran-backed militia group held responsible for a drone attack on a military base resulting in three soldiers’ deaths. Iran, denying involvement in the drone attack, criticized the strikes, stating they would only escalate tensions in the region.
In the midst of ongoing actions against Iran-backed groups by the UK and US, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron emphasized the need for Iran to be “held accountable” for its proxies. Lord Cameron emphasized the importance of sending a robust signal to Iran that their support for proxies is unacceptable. He further conveyed this sentiment to Iran’s foreign minister, emphasizing Iran’s role in creating, backing, and financing these groups, holding them ultimately accountable for their actions.
Houthi Attacks on Merchant Vessels Spark US and UK Airstrikes in Red Sea
The Houthis initiated attacks on merchant vessels in November, citing Israel’s military ground operation in Gaza as a reason. Responding to these actions, the group targeted commercial tankers in the Red Sea, a crucial global shipping route. In a coordinated effort, the US and UK conducted a series of airstrikes on numerous Houthi targets on January 11. This development underscores the escalating tensions in the region and the international response to safeguard maritime security.