New Delhi, Jan 23: The US and the UK conducted a second joint operation in Yemen, targeting eight locations, including an underground storage site and Houthi missile and surveillance capabilities. The Pentagon emphasised that Monday’s strikes were aimed at “defending lives” and ensuring “the free flow of commerce,” highlighting their commitment to action backing their words.
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed the joint resolve, stating, “Britain and the US want to send the clearest possible message that their words will be backed by action.” He condemned the Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping as “unacceptable” and “illegal,” expressing confidence that the recent and previous strikes were degrading the Houthis’ ability to target ships. Cameron dismissed Houthi claims linking the attacks to the war in Gaza, asserting, “We should not accept” such justifications.
This marks the eighth US strike against Houthi targets in Yemen and the second joint operation with the UK. The joint statement revealed support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands during these operations.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea countered, reporting a total of 18 strikes by the US and UK, with specific locations mentioned, including the capital Sanaa, Hudaydah, Taiz, and Bayda provinces. Warning that these attacks “will not go unanswered or unpunished,” Sarea did not provide information on damage or casualties.
Head of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, accused the US and UK of being “the guardian of Israeli destruction,” referencing their multinational naval coalition, “Operation Prosperity Guardian.” Al-Houthi asserted that the strikes would strengthen Yemeni resolve against aggression.
The Houthi attacks on merchant vessels, initiated in November, were purportedly in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza. Despite US-led naval forces thwarting many attacks, major shipping companies have rerouted around southern Africa, impacting the Red Sea, through which nearly 15% of global seaborne trade typically passes.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, labeled the US and UK strikes as a “strategic mistake,” issuing a warning and deeming them a threat to regional peace and security. These developments come amid discussions at the UN Security Council, where the risk of escalation looms as the situation persists. The longer these exchanges drag on, the greater the risk of escalation.