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Saturday, April 13, 2024

US and UK Launch Counterattacks on Yemen’s Iran-Supported Houthis in Fresh Offensive


WASHINGTON ⁣— In a second wave of attacks aimed at crippling ‍Iran-backed ​groups, the United ⁤States and Britain targeted 36 Houthi locations in Yemen on Saturday.⁢ These groups have been persistently launching attacks on American and international interests following ⁢the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The most‌ recent offensive against⁤ the Houthis was ⁢carried out by warships and fighter jets. This follows an⁤ air assault in Iraq and Syria on Friday,​ which ⁣targeted other Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary ⁤Guard in response to a drone strike that resulted in‌ the death of three U.S. troops in Jordan the previous weekend.

The Houthi ⁤targets, spread across 13 different locations, were hit by U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets from ⁤the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and by the USS Gravely and the USS Carney ‌Navy destroyers, which⁢ launched Tomahawk missiles from the Red Sea. This information was provided⁤ by U.S.​ officials⁣ to the Associated Press under the condition ‍of ​anonymity,⁤ as they were not ⁤authorized to publicly discuss the military operation.

The ⁣U.S. made it clear that its response to the soldiers’​ deaths at the⁤ Tower 22 base in Jordan last Sunday would not be ‍confined to a single night, ‌target, or ‍group. However, the‌ Houthis have been launching almost daily missile or drone attacks against commercial and military‌ ships in⁣ the⁢ Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and ⁢they have shown no signs of reducing their campaign. The impact of the allied assaults on their activities remains uncertain.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the military action, supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the ⁣Netherlands, and New Zealand, “sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to face further⁣ consequences if they do not cease their ⁢illegal ⁣attacks on international shipping and naval vessels.”

He further added, “We will not hesitate to defend⁢ lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”

The Defense Department revealed that the strikes targeted sites associated ⁤with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, ​missile systems and launchers, ‍air defense systems, and radars.

Saturday’s strikes marked the third time the U.S. ⁢and Britain had conducted a large‍ joint operation to strike‌ Houthi weapon launchers, radar sites, and drones. The strikes in Yemen are intended to emphasize the broader ​message to Iran that ⁤Washington holds Tehran accountable for arming, funding, and⁤ training the array of militias behind attacks across the Mideast against U.S. and⁤ international interests over the past‌ several months, ​including‍ in Iraq and Syria by the rebels in Yemen.

Video footage shared online by residents of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, included the sound of explosions and at least one blast​ lighting up the night sky. The blasts were reported to ⁤have occurred around buildings associated ⁤with the Yemeni presidential compound. The Houthi-controlled state-run news agency, SABA, reported strikes in al-Bayda, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeida, Taiz, and Sanaa provinces.

On Friday, the U.S. destroyer Laboon and F/A-18s from the Eisenhower shot down​ seven drones fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen into the⁣ Red Sea. The ⁣destroyer Carney shot down a drone fired in the Gulf of Aden, and U.S. forces took out four more ​drones that were prepared to ⁣launch.

Hours before the latest joint operation, the U.S. conducted another self-defense strike on a site in Yemen, destroying six anti-ship cruise⁤ missiles, as it has done repeatedly when ⁤it has ⁣detected a missile or drone ready‍ to launch.

The Houthi attacks have forced shipping companies to reroute their vessels ‍from⁤ the Red Sea, sending them around Africa through the Cape‌ of Good⁣ Hope ⁢— a much⁤ longer, costlier, and less efficient passage. The threats have also ‌led the U.S. and its allies to establish a joint mission⁢ where warships from⁢ participating ⁤nations provide a protective umbrella of air defense for ships as they travel⁣ the critical waterway that ‌runs from the Suez Canal down ⁢to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

During normal operations, about 400 commercial vessels‍ transit the southern Red Sea at any given time.

The U.S. has attributed the Jordan attack to the Islamic Resistance ⁣in Iraq, a coalition ⁢of Iranian-backed militias.​ Iran has attempted to distance itself from the drone strike, claiming⁢ that the militias act independently of its direction.

Hussein al-Mosawi, spokesperson for Harakat al-Nujaba, one of the main Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, condemned the earlier U.S. strike in ⁣Iraq and warned Washington that “every action elicits a reaction.” However, in an AP interview in ‍Baghdad, he also struck a⁤ more conciliatory tone, stating, ​”We do not ⁤wish to escalate or widen regional tensions.”

Mosawi revealed that⁤ the ⁣targeted sites in Iraq were mainly‍ “devoid ​of fighters and military personnel at the time of the attack.”

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that 23 people, all rank-and-file fighters, were‌ killed. ⁢Iraqi government spokesperson Bassim al-Awadi stated that 16 people, including civilians, were killed and there was “significant damage” to homes and private properties.

The U.S. confirmed that it had informed ‍Iraq about the operation before it commenced.

A U.S. official revealed ​that an initial battle ‌damage assessment showed the U.S.​ had struck ​each of its planned targets in addition‍ to a few ⁢”dynamic targets” that​ emerged as the mission unfolded, including a surface-to-air missile site‌ and drone ‍launch sites. The official, ⁢who‍ spoke on the condition of ⁢anonymity to provide details that were not ⁣yet⁤ public,⁣ did not have a casualty assessment.

The Iraqi government has been ⁣in a delicate position ‍since⁢ a group of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias calling itself Islamic Resistance⁢ in Iraq began launching attacks on U.S. bases ⁣in Iraq and Syria on Oct. 18. The group described the strikes as retaliation⁣ for Washington’s support‍ for Israel in ​the war in Gaza.

Behind the scenes,​ Iraqi officials have attempted to rein ⁤in the ​militias, while also condemning U.S. retaliatory strikes as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and calling for an exit of the⁣ 2,500 U.S. troops who are in the country as part‌ of ⁢an international coalition to fight IS. Last month, Iraqi and U.S. military officials launched formal talks to wind ⁣down the coalition’s presence, a process that will likely take years.

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  1. US and UK looking to dismantle Iran-supported Houthis in Yemen. Time to take action and protect regional stability. #Agree


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