Home » Britain and American forces strike Houthi targets after spike in attacks on shipping

Britain and American forces strike Houthi targets after spike in attacks on shipping

British and US forces have struck Houthi targets in Yemen in the fifth combined operation since January.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the strikes took place on Thursday as part of a response to Houthi attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The MoD said intelligence confirmed two locations near Hudaydah were involved in the anti-shipping attacks, with buildings identified as housing drone ground control facilities and storage for long range drones.

Surface-to-air weapons were also believed to be on-site.

A set of Houthi facilities at Ghulayfiqah, further south on the Yemeni coast, were also identified as being involved in the command and control of the group’s anti-shipping campaign.

According to the officials, American and British fighter jets and US ships hit a wide range of targets.

RAF Typhoon FGR4s conducted strikes on the target buildings at the three locations, using Paveway IV guided bombs.

The US F/A-18 fighter jets launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea, officials said.

Other US warships in the region also participated.

A total of 13 Houthi targets were struck.

PM says UK “will not hesitate” to protect British interests.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the UK “will not hesitate” to protect British interests.

He said last night’s strikes were conducted “to further degrade the military capabilities of the Houthis and to prevent further attacks on international shipping”.

“The strikes were taken in self-defence in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose,” he said.

Asked whether this new round of strikes risked escalation with Iran, who back the Houthis, Mr Sunak said: “We have always said that we will not hesitate to protect British interests abroad and at home.

“There is an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose, 197 attacks since November, all our intelligence indicates that previous sets of strikes have been successful in degrading military capabilities of the Houthis: targeting supply, command and control launch sites for missiles and there is also a risk in inaction that would damage the global economy and further risk our international security.”

The moment the US Navy fires a Tomahawk land attack missile from the USS Gravely, against what America describes as Houthi military targets in Yemen, on 3 February 2024. Pic: Reuters
A Tomahawk land attack missile. Pic: Reuters

The Houthi-run Al Masirah TV reported at least two deaths and 10 injuries from strikes against a radio building in Hodeidah’s Al-Hawk district.

“As ever, the utmost care was taken in planning the strikes to minimise any risk to civilians or non-military infrastructure,” the MoD said in a statement.

“Conducting the strikes in the hours of darkness should also have mitigated yet further any such risks.”

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

The strikes came a day after a US 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 the central Marib province.

It marked the third such downing this month alone.

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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.

The US has also 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.