U.S. military launches new strikes over Houthi-controlled Yemen

The new strike over Yemen targeted a radar site controlled by the Houthis.

The U.S. military carried out new strikes on a Houthi-controlled site in Yemen on Saturday, following warnings to ships to avoid specific areas in the Red Sea. The operation was executed by the Navy destroyer USS Carney, utilizing Tomahawk land attack missiles to target a Houthi radar site deemed a threat to commercial vessels in the region.

This action followed a series of airstrikes by the U.S. and Britain on Friday, which targeted 28 locations and over 60 Houthi rebel sites. The initial strikes were in response to a recent campaign of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. President Joe Biden had cautioned on Friday that further strikes could be imminent.

In response to the military intervention, the U.S. Navy issued a warning to American-flagged vessels to avoid certain areas around Yemen for the next 72 hours. This advisory came amidst vows of retaliation from the Houthis, escalating tensions in a region already grappling with conflicts, including Israel’s war in Gaza.

The U.S. military, anticipating possible Houthi counterattacks, advised American-flagged vessels to avoid navigation on the Read Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

According to U.S. reports, the strikes on Friday resulted in at least five casualties and six injuries, with targets spanning 28 different locations in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. President Biden, during a stop in Pennsylvania, asserted that the U.S. and its allies would respond to the Houthis’ actions.

In response to queries about whether the Houthis are considered a terrorist group, President Biden expressed his belief that they are, dismissing discussions on redesignation as “irrelevant.” He also rebuffed criticism from lawmakers who argued that congressional authorization should have been sought before the strikes.

The Pentagon revealed that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, recovering from complications following prostate cancer surgery, ordered the military action. The White House had previously considered redesignating the Houthis as a terrorist organization, but in 2021, they were formally delisted by the Biden administration, overturning a decision made during President Donald Trump’s tenure.

Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, clarified that the strikes primarily targeted low-populated areas, focusing on weapons, radar, and targeting sites, including remote mountainous regions.

As the airstrikes illuminated the predawn sky over Houthi-held sites, global attention once again turned to Yemen’s protracted war, initiated when the Houthis seized the capital. The conflict, exacerbated by Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea since November, has intensified, creating a humanitarian crisis and impacting global trade routes and prompted a warning from Western allies before the strikes.

In response to the U.S. strikes, the Houthi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, asserted that there would be repercussions. Saudi Arabia, supporting the government-in-exile in conflict with the Houthis, sought to distance itself from the attacks as it navigates a delicate balance with Iran and maintains a ceasefire in Yemen.

During a hastily convened session of the U.N. Security Council on Friday night, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia alleged that the U.S., U.K., and their allies had engaged in “overt armed aggression” against Yemen. He cautioned that should the escalation persist, the entire Middle East might face a catastrophic situation.

In response, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.K. Ambassador Barbara Woodward staunchly asserted that the attacks were undertaken in self-defense. Thomas-Greenfield emphasized the urgency of de-escalation, stating, “It needs to happen from the Houthis who are putting all of our shipping lines in jeopardy.

The extent of the damage from the strikes remains unclear.

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