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Business News/ News / World/  Red Sea crisis: US, UK intensify airstrikes targeting Houthis in Yemen
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Red Sea crisis: US, UK intensify airstrikes targeting Houthis in Yemen

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes were meant ‘to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.’

This image provided by the U.S. Navy shows an aircraft launching from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during flight operations in the Red Sea, Jan. 22, 2024. The U.S. and Britain have struck more than a dozen Houthi targets in Yemen. The strikes on Saturday, Feb. 24, answer a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The U.S. fighter jets launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, which is currently in the Red Sea. (Kaitlin Watt/U.S. Navy via AP) (AP)Premium
This image provided by the U.S. Navy shows an aircraft launching from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during flight operations in the Red Sea, Jan. 22, 2024. The U.S. and Britain have struck more than a dozen Houthi targets in Yemen. The strikes on Saturday, Feb. 24, answer a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The U.S. fighter jets launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, which is currently in the Red Sea. (Kaitlin Watt/U.S. Navy via AP) (AP)

US and British military forces conducted airstrikes targeting over a dozen Houthi sites in Yemen on Saturday, according to officials.

As reported by Reuters, this marks the latest in a series of military operations against the Iran-backed group, which has been implicated in ongoing attacks on shipping in the region.

According to the report, the United States has been consistently carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis, who hold sway over Yemen's most densely populated areas. The group has justified its attacks on shipping by claiming solidarity with Palestinians amid Israel's actions in Gaza.

The strikes have so far failed to halt the Houthis' attacks, which have upset global trade and raised shipping rates.

Also Read: Houthi rebel attack sets cargo ship ablaze, forces Israel to intercept another attack near Eilat

Moreover, a joint statement from countries that either took part in the strikes or provided support, said the military action was against 18 Houthi targets across eight locations in Yemen including underground weapons and missile storage facilities, air defence systems, radars and a helicopter, Reuters reported.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes were meant “to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia."

“We will continue to make clear to the Houthis that they will bear the consequences if they do not stop their illegal attacks, which harm Middle Eastern economies, cause environmental damage and disrupt the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen and other countries," Austin said.

The military strikes received backing from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.

Al Masirah TV, the primary television news channel affiliated with the Houthi movement, reported on Saturday that a series of strikes were conducted in the capital city of Sanaa by US and UK forces.

Also Read: India, Asia gains as Houthi attacks and freight costs disrupt diesel imports to Europe

It quoted an unnamed Houthi military source as saying the renewed raids were “a miserable attempt to prevent Yemen from providing support operations to the Palestinian people in Gaza."

Earlier this week, the Houthis took credit for attacking a cargo ship owned by the UK and launching a drone strike on a US destroyer. Additionally, they targeted Israel's port and resort city of Eilat with ballistic missiles and drones.

These actions by the group are causing disruptions to the crucial Suez Canal route, which handles approximately 12% of global maritime traffic. Consequently, ships are being forced to take longer and more costly routes around the African continent.

Reuters reported that while no ships have been sunk and no crew members have lost their lives during the Houthi campaign, there are apprehensions regarding the UK-registered Rubymar cargo vessel, which was targeted on February 18 and had its crew evacuated.

Also Read: Red Sea crisis: Canada asks Beijing to influence Houthis, 'It's in China's interests'

According to the US military, the Rubymar was transporting over 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was struck. There are concerns that this cargo could spill into the Red Sea, potentially leading to an environmental catastrophe.

The European Union has launched a naval mission to the Red Sea “to restore and safeguard freedom of navigation".

The United States has a parallel coalition, Operation Prosperity Guardian, aimed at safeguarding commercial traffic in from attacks by the Houthis.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 25 Feb 2024, 06:40 AM IST
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