US and UK lead coalition strikes on Yemen’s Houthis over Red Sea attacks

strikes on Yemens Houthis over Red Sea attacks

New Delhi: On Saturday, February 3, 2024, US and UK forces, along with their allies, launched a series of airstrikes on Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. The strikes targeted 36 Houthi positions in 13 locations, including weapons storage facilities, missile systems, air defense systems, and radars. The coalition said the strikes were a response to the Houthis’ repeated attacks on international and commercial shipping, as well as naval vessels, in the Red Sea.

Why it matters

The Red Sea is one of the world’s most important waterways, connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also a vital route for oil and gas shipments. The Houthis, a rebel group backed by Iran, have been fighting the internationally recognized government of Yemen since 2014. They have seized control of large parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa, and the port of Hodeidah. The Houthis have also been accused of launching missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government.

The Houthis have intensified their attacks on shipping and naval vessels in the Red Sea since mid-November last year, posing a serious threat to regional and global security and stability. The coalition said the Houthis have carried out more than 30 attacks in the past three months, some of which have resulted in casualties and damages. The coalition also said the Houthis have violated international law and humanitarian norms by endangering civilian lives and obstructing the delivery of aid to the war-torn country.

What they said

The US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said the coalition strikes were a clear message to the Houthis that they would face similar consequences in the future if they did not stop their illegal attacks. He said the strikes were aimed at disrupting the Houthis’ ability to carry out unprovoked attacks and to reduce their threat to lawful shipping and navigation in the Red Sea. He said the US and its partners would not hesitate to protect lives and the free flow of commerce in the region.

The UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said the UK was proud to stand with its allies in defending international norms and values. He said the UK was committed to supporting the UN-led peace process in Yemen and to alleviating the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict. He said the UK urged the Houthis to cease their attacks and to engage in good faith with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

strikes on Yemens Houthis over Red Sea attacks

The Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdulsalam, said the coalition strikes were a “cowardly aggression” and a “flagrant violation” of the sovereignty and independence of Yemen. He said the strikes were a sign of the coalition’s frustration and failure to achieve any military or political gains in Yemen. He said the strikes would only increase the determination and resistance of the Yemeni people and their right to self-defense. He said the Houthis would continue to target the coalition’s interests and assets until the end of the aggression and siege on Yemen.