On Saturday, the United States and Britain conducted joint air raids in Yemen, targeting 36 Huthi rebel sites across 13 locations. These strikes were a response to ongoing Huthi attacks on international and commercial shipping, posing risks to lives and disrupting global trade. The action followed a separate set of unilateral American strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria, prompted by the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan on January 28.
This marks the third occasion of collaborative British and American efforts against the Huthis, who have continued their attacks despite previous airstrikes. The recent strikes aimed to disrupt the Iranian-backed Huthi militia’s capabilities, targeting deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers, air defense systems, and radars.
In addition to the joint statement by the United States, Britain, and supporting countries, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized the intent to further disrupt and degrade the Huthis’ ability to carry out destabilizing attacks. The specific locations hit were not disclosed, but the Huthis’ Al-Massirah television reported strikes in Sanaa and other areas.
The UK’s Defense Ministry stated that Royal Air Force Typhoon warplanes targeted ground control stations for both attack and reconnaissance drones. Simultaneously, US Central Command reported a strike against a Huthi anti-ship missile in the Red Sea, with other strikes against additional missiles and drone interceptions.
The Huthis had previously targeted Red Sea shipping, claiming to aim at Israel-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza. The US and UK responded with counterattacks, leading the Huthis to declare American and British interests as legitimate targets.
The situation in the Middle East has been exacerbated by tensions surrounding Israel’s campaign in Gaza, contributing to violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Last week, a drone attack in Jordan killed three US soldiers, attributed to Iran-backed forces.
In response, the United States conducted strikes against Tehran-linked facilities in Iraq and Syria. These strikes faced condemnation from the Iraqi and Syrian governments, while Tehran criticized them for escalating tension and instability.
Diplomatic sources indicated that the UN Security Council would convene in response to Russia’s call for a meeting over the threat to peace and safety posed by US strikes in Syria and Iraq.
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron held Iran accountable, stating that the country created, backed, financed, and provided weapons to proxy groups, emphasizing the need to send a clear signal that such actions are unacceptable.