Home » United States, Britain strike Houthi targets menacing Red Sea shipping – UPI.com

United States, Britain strike Houthi targets menacing Red Sea shipping – UPI.com

American and British forces carried out a series of “defensive” airstrikes against Houthi military assets in Yemen and the Red Sea destroying eight drones and targeting 13 other sites involved in attacking Red Sea shipping. The strikes were the first against the Iran-backed rebels after a pause of more than three months. File Photo via U.K. Ministry of Defense/UPI | License Photo

May 31 (UPI) — American and British forces carried out “defensive” strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen and the Red Sea destroying eight drones, the first attacks against the Iran-backed rebels after a pause of more than three months.

The strikes on Thursday afternoon were launched because it was determined the unmanned aerial vehicles and the other targets in Houthi-controlled areas and above the Red Sea “presented a threat to U.S. and coalition forces in the region,” U.S. Central Command said in a post on X.

“These actions are necessary to protect our forces, ensure freedom of navigation, and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S., coalition, and merchant vessels.”

The attacks on the UAVs were conducted by U.S. forces with joint American-British strikes carried out against an additional 13 unspecified targets in “Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen in self-defense,” said CENTCOM.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense confirmed its warplanes participated in the operation to “degrade the Houthi’s ability to persist with their attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden” which it said had killed seamen from Vietnam and the Philippines and damaged or sunk merchant ships.

Based on intelligence, Royal Air Force Typhoon jets used guided bombs to target buildings and command and control infrastructure at three locations in Hudaydah and Ghulayfiqah identified as being used in coordinating shipping attacks and threatening the multi-national Operation Prosperity naval protection force, the MoD said in a news release.

The attacks were the fifth round by American and British forces since the allies launched their first large-scale retaliatory strikes on Jan. 11, but the first since Feb. 24 when the United States and Britain targeted Houthi weapons and radar sites.

Thursday’s airstrikes came two days after the Greek M/V Laax, an 82,000-ton bulk carrier, was struck by three Houthi missiles in the Red Sea. There were no injuries and the vessel continued on its journey to the Iranian port of Imam Khomeini.

British Prime Minster Rishi Sunak said Friday that the airstrikes had been a last resort to prevent further following ‘exhaustive diplomacy,” vowing his government “will not hesitate to protect our security.”

“The strikes were taken in self-defense in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose.”

Sunak said the action sent the Houthis “a strong message” that attacking commercial shipping in the Red Sea was “unacceptable”.

The MoD stressed the lengths the two militaries went to avoid hurting civilians or inflicting collateral damage.

“As ever, the utmost care was taken in planning the strikes to minimize any risk to civilians or non-military infrastructure. Conducting the strikes in the hours of darkness should also have mitigated yet further any such risks,” said the ministry.