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The US-led coalition conducted strikes on 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen on Saturday in response to the movement’s continued attacks against international and commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the coalition said in a joint statement, issued by the Pentagon.
“Today, at the direction of their respective governments, the militaries of the United States and United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea,” the statement read.
The coalition added that Saturday’s strikes “specifically targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars” and are intended to “disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, and the lives of innocent mariners.”
“The Houthis’ now more than 30 attacks on commercial vessels and naval vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge,” the statement said, adding that the coalition remains “committed to protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on commercial shipping and naval vessels.”
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement released by the Pentagon on Saturday that the strikes “are intended to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilizing attacks against U.S. and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea.”
Austin also said that “this collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels,” adding that the coalition of forces “will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”
UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed Saturday that the UK military engaged “a third wave of proportionate and targeted strikes” against the Houthis, adding that these were “not an escalation” and were designed to “protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation.”
“The Royal Air Force engaged in a third wave of proportionate and targeted strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen. We acted alongside our US allies, with the support of many international partners, in self-defence and in accordance with international law. This is not an escalation. We have already successfully targeted launchers and storage sites involved in Houthi attacks, and I am confident that our latest strikes have further degraded the Houthis’ capabilities,” The Guardian quoted Shapps as saying.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said in November that they would attack any Israeli-linked or Israeli-bound ships passing through the Red Sea in retaliation for the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, leading the US to announce the creation of a multinational operation to secure navigation in the area. The US and the UK have launched multiple strikes against Houthi positions in a bid to degrade their ability to target commercial vessels.
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