US, UK bomb dozens of Houthi targets in Yemen

The United States and the United Kingdom announced that they had bombed dozens of targets in Yemen on Saturday February 3, in response to repeated attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels on ships

US, UK bomb dozens of Houthi targets in Yemen

The United States and the United Kingdom announced that they had bombed dozens of targets in Yemen on Saturday February 3, in response to repeated attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels on ships. The air raids in Yemen come a day after a series of US strikes against elite Iranian forces and pro-Iranian armed groups in Syria and Iraq, in retaliation for the deaths of three US soldiers in Jordan on January 28.

This is the third joint operation by the United States and the United Kingdom against the Yemeni rebels, the American forces having already carried out air raids alone against the rebels, who nevertheless continued their attacks.

Saturday's strikes targeted 36 rebel targets "in 13 locations in Yemen in response to continued Houthi attacks on international and commercial maritime traffic and warships transiting the Red Sea," a joint US statement said. , the United Kingdom and other countries that supported the operation. The attack targeted “deeply buried arsenals, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems and radars of the Houthis,” the document added.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes “aim to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to carry out its reckless and destabilizing attacks.” “Coalition forces targeted 13 sites associated with Houthi deep-buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems and radars,” he said in a statement .

Yemen's capital among targets

Neither Austin nor the joint statement identified the precise locations that were hit, but the Houthis' Al-Massirah TV said "Sanaa, Hajja, Dhamar, Al-Bayda, Taiz and Hodeida" were targeted. The British Ministry of Defense specified that its planes had notably struck two stations used to direct reconnaissance and attack drones.

Early Sunday, the United States announced it had carried out a new strike against a Houthi anti-ship missile that was “ready to be launched against ships in the Red Sea,” according to the U.S. Middle East Command (Centcom).

Centcom had already announced on Saturday that it had carried out strikes targeting six Houthi anti-ship missiles. The US military also destroyed eight drones on Friday off the coast of Yemen and four on the ground to “protect freedom of navigation” from rebel attacks.

They began targeting maritime traffic in the Red Sea in November, saying they were targeting vessels linked to Israel “in solidarity” with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, ravaged by the war between Israel and Hamas.

American and British forces responded with raids against the rebels, who have since also designated American and British interests as legitimate targets.

The risk of an “escalation with escalation” response

After Saturday's strikes, Houthi spokesman Nasr al-Din Amer said: "Either there is peace for us, Palestine and Gaza, or there is no peace and no security for you in our region”. “We will respond to escalation with escalation,” he wrote on social media.

Anger over Israel's devastating campaign in Gaza, which began after an unprecedented deadly Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7, continues to swell across the Middle East. On January 28, a drone struck a base in Jordan, killing three American soldiers and injuring more than 40. The attack was attributed by Washington to pro-Iran groups.

The United States responded Friday with retaliatory strikes against elite Iranian forces and pro-Iranian armed groups in Iraq and Syria, but did not strike Iranian territory. Both Iraq and Syria condemned the strikes, while Iran said they would have "no other result than intensifying tensions and instability."

At the request of Russia, which has accused Washington of “sowing chaos” in the Middle East, the UN Security Council is due to meet urgently on Monday.