Horst D. Deckert

US, UK Strike Houthi Militia Targets in Yemen


The blasts occurred in Sanaa, Hodeidah and other cities, the Iran-backed Shia group said

The US and UK began carrying out strikes on Houthi militia targets in Yemen in the early hours of Friday.

Washington and London had vowed to retaliate against attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. 

The Houthis have pledged support for Gaza during the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. They have been launching drones and missiles at merchant vessels, as well as warships patrolling the vital waterway. 

The Houthis are a Shia Islamist militia that rose to power following the wave of protests known as the Arab Spring, which swept the Middle East in the early 2010s.

One of the poorest countries in the region, Yemen has been plagued by an intermittent civil war for nearly a decade. It was further devastated by a Saudi-led intervention, which began in 2015 with the aim of expelling the Houthis.

12 January 2024 06:14 GMT The Houthis have insisted that airstrikes by the US and UK will not make them stop their attacks on vessels off Yemen’s coast. “The targeting was and will continue to affect Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam wrote on Twitter.

Speaking about the actions by Washington and London, Abdulsalam stressed that “there is absolutely no justification for this aggression against Yemen, as there was no threat to international navigation in the Red and Arabian Seas.”

05:46 GMT US Central Command has said that “over 60 targets at 16 Iranian-backed Houthi militant locations” were struck in Yemen. The facilities included “command and control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems,” according to CENTCOM.

05:34 GMT Tehran “strongly” condemns the strikes by the US and UK on targets inside Yemen, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani has said. “We consider it a clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a breach of international laws, regulations, and rights,” Kanaani stressed, as cited by the Nournews outlet.

04:45 GMT Anti-war protesters gathered at Times Square in New York and outside the White House in Washington, DC, chanting “Let Yemen live” and “Hands off Yemen.” They also expressed solidarity with Palestine.


— Sulaiman Ahmed (@ShaykhSulaiman) January 12, 2024

04:06 GMT The US Central Command posted a video of its jets taking off from an aircraft carrier in the middle of the night. CENTCOM Commander, General Michael Kurilla, said that the Houthis “will be held accountable” for their “illegal and dangerous actions.”

On Jan. 11 at 2:30 a.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command forces, in coordination with the United Kingdom, and support from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain conducted joint strikes on Houthi targets to degrade their capability to continue their illegal and… pic.twitter.com/bR8biMolSx

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 12, 2024

Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bahrain, and South Korea voiced their support for the US-British bombardment. 

“Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but let our message be clear: we will not hesitate to defend lives and protect the free flow of commerce,” they countries said in a joint statement released by the White House.

03:32 GMT American and British aircraft targeted Al-Dailami Air Base, north of Sanaa, local Al-Masirah TV station said. 

Lebanese news channel Al Mayadden cited its reporter on the ground as saying that the Hodeidah Airport was also targeted. 

Fadel Abu Taleb, a senior Houthi official, wrote on X that the bombardment “will not achieve any results and will not be able to discourage the Yemeni people from continuing their support for the Palestinians.” 

Another senior Houthi official, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, described the coalition’s attack as “the greatest folly in their history,” according to Al Jazeera.

03:01 GMT Riyadh has called for “restraint” and urged to “avoid escalation.” 

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is following with great concern the military operations taking place in the Red Sea and the raids on a number of sites in the Republic of Yemen,” the kingdom’s Foreign Ministry said in statement, as quoted by Al Jazeera.

02:10 GMT The strikes targeted “sites associated with the Houthis’ unmanned aerial vehicle, ballistic and cruise missile, and coastal radar and air surveillance capabilities,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said. He added that the US reserved the right to “take follow-on actions” to protect its forces.

UK Secretary of Defense Grant Shapps announced that four Eurofighter Typhoon jets “conducted precision strikes on two Houthi military sites.”

Four @RoyalAirForce Typhoons have conducted precision strikes on two Houthi military targets alongside US forces.

The threat to innocent lives and global trade has become so great that this action was not only necessary, it was our duty to protect vessels & freedom of navigation pic.twitter.com/tbN7ncJYpF

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 12, 2024

01:38 GMT Russia has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday to discuss the ongoing escalation in Yemen.

01:38 GMT Russia has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday to discuss the ongoing escalation in Yemen.

01:27 GMT UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak released a statement in the early hours of Friday, saying that the Royal Air Force “has carried out targeted strikes against military facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen.”

The PM accused the Houthis of “destabilizing” commercial shipping in the Red Sea. “Their reckless actions are risking lives at sea and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” Sunak said. 

“This cannot stand,” he added, describing the strikes as “limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defense.”

• 12 January 2024 01:18 GMT

Yemeni news agency SABA reported that the strikes occurred in the country’s capital Sanaa, as well as the provinces of Saada, Hodeidah, Taiz and Dhamar.

Unverified videos posted to social media show powerful explosions on the ground.


American-British raids targeting the Yemeni governorate of Saada, a short while ago. pic.twitter.com/kpUYxm4Mam

— Palestine Now (@PalestineNW) January 11, 2024

00:59 GMT Houthi spokesman Abdulsalam Jahaf claimed that “a number of American and British warships have been hit” during “a major battle in the Red Sea.” 

“Whoever is involved, will pay the price,” he wrote on X. “We will not stop our attack until you leave the area.” 

00:44 GMT US President Joe Biden said that the Western coalition has “successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways.”

“Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. He added that the military action sends “a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation” in the region.

00:32 GMT Several Western outlets quoted unnamed American and British officials as confirming the strikes. The White House and Downing Street are yet to make official statements on the matter. 

The sites in Yemen were targeted by fighter jets and hit with Tomahawk cruise missiles, CNN reported.

Houthi spokesman Abdulsalam Jahaf earlier wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that blasts occurred in Sanaa, Hodeidah and other cities.

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