U.S. and UK Launch Strikes Against 36 Houthi Targets in Yemen

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In a significant escalation, the United States and Britain jointly conducted airstrikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday. This marks the second day of major U.S. operations targeting Iran-linked groups in response to a recent deadly attack on American troops.

The strikes specifically targeted buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers, and other capabilities utilized by the Houthis for attacks on Red Sea shipping, according to the Pentagon. Thirteen locations across Yemen were reportedly hit in the operation.

The move follows the escalating conflict in the Middle East since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas on October 7. The strikes aim to deter Houthi attacks on international shipping and naval vessels, as emphasized by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who stated that further consequences await the Houthis if they persist in their illegal actions.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea responded, warning of consequences for the U.S. strikes. The Yemen strikes coincide with a broader U.S. campaign of military retaliation in response to the killing of three American soldiers in a drone strike by Iran-backed militants in Jordan.

The first wave of retaliation occurred on Friday, targeting over 85 locations in Iraq and Syria linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and militias it supports, resulting in an estimated 40 casualties. The U.S. accuses Iran-backed militias of attacking its troops in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan.

Amidst the regional turmoil, major shipping lines have largely abandoned the Red Sea route due to escalating violence, impacting global trade and raising concerns about inflation. The strategic approach by the Biden administration aims to weaken the Houthi militants without directly confronting Iran, their main sponsor.

While the U.S. has conducted numerous strikes against Houthi targets in recent weeks, these efforts have failed to halt the group’s attacks. The Houthi spokesperson reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the Palestinian cause, indicating that their intervention in the Red Sea would persist.

The latest round of strikes had support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. British Defense Minister Grant Shapps clarified that the operations targeted launchers and storage sites involved in Houthi attacks.

The Pentagon emphasized that it does not seek war with Iran and believes Tehran shares this sentiment. However, the strikes on Iran-linked groups have heightened tensions. Iran’s foreign ministry labeled the attacks in Iraq and Syria as a “strategic mistake” that would increase tension and instability.

As the situation unfolds, the international community watches closely for potential responses from Tehran and further developments in the complex web of Middle East conflicts.

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