US and UK Naval forces in the Red Sea have launched air strikes against Houthi rebel targets across Yemen.
US officials say warship-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles and fighter jets hit 16 sites, including in the capital, Sanaa, and Hudaydah, the Houthi Red Sea port stronghold. The strikes are in response to repeated attacks by the Iran-backed group on commercial vessels in the Red Sea.
The Houthis, who back Hamas, said at least five of their number were killed.
The group claims to be targeting ships linked to Israel – saying the attacks are in response to Israel’s campaign in the Gaza Strip – and have also launched a series of drones and missiles towards Israel.
The Houthi targets in Yemen early on Friday included logistical hubs, air defence systems and arms depots, US officials told the Associated Press news agency.
US President Joe Biden, quoted by Reuters news agency, said the US and UK military had successfully launched strikes against Houthi targets with support from countries including Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.
“These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation,” Biden said.
He added that he “will not hesitate” to order further military action if necessary.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said in response that there was “absolutely no justification” for the attacks and that the group would continue to target Israeli ships.
Iran and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah – both Houthi allies – have also condemned the strikes. (BBC)
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