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US and Britain Strike Houthi Rebel Targets in Yemen After Surge in Shipping Attacks
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By Associated Press
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 30, 2024

The US and Britain have launched strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in response to increased attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. (AP/Etat Major des Armees)

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. and Britain struck 13 Houthi targets in several locations in Yemen on Thursday in response to a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, three U.S. officials said.

According to the officials, American and British fighter jets and U.S. ships hit a wide range of underground facilities, missile launchers, command and control sites, a Houthi vessel and other facilities. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide early details of an ongoing military operation.

Also struck by the U.S. were eight uncrewed aerial vehicles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen that were determined to be presenting a threat to American and coalition forces.

Recent Incidents Leading to the Strikes

The strikes come a day after a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone went down in Yemen, and the Houthis released footage they said showed the aircraft being targeted with a surface-to-air missile in a desert region of Yemen’s central Marib province. It marked the third such downing this month alone.

Also earlier this week, missile attacks twice damaged a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, with a private security firm saying radio traffic suggested the vessel took on water after being struck. While no group claimed responsibility, suspicion fell on the Houthis.

Continued Military Operations Against the Houthis

This is the fifth time that the U.S. and British militaries have conducted a combined operation against the Houthis since Jan. 12. But the U.S. also has been carrying out almost daily strikes to take out Houthi targets, including incoming missiles and drones aimed at ships, as well as weapons that were prepared to launch.

The U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea, officials said. Other U.S. warships in the region also participated.

The Houthis in recent months have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking some 250 hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat.

U.S. warships, meanwhile, took out a number of missile launchers and drones targeting vessels in the region over the past week.

President Joe Biden and other senior leaders have repeatedly warned that the U.S. won’t tolerate the Houthi attacks against commercial shipping. But the counterattacks haven’t appeared to diminish the Houthis’ campaign against shipping in the region.

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