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US carries out fresh strikes against Yemen’s Houthis

In World
January 20, 2024

WASHINGTON – The US military carried out another round of strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Jan 19, targeting missile launchers that were preparing for attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, the White House said.

Washington is seeking to reduce the Iran-backed Houthis’ military capabilities, but the Yemeni rebels are still able to continue their attacks despite a week of strikes, and they have vowed that they will keep targeting merchant vessels.

The Houthis began striking Red Sea shipping in November, saying they were hitting Israeli-linked vessels in support of Palestinians in Gaza, and subsequently declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.

“This morning, US forces conducted three successful self-defence strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“This is the fourth preemptive action that the US military has taken in the past week against Huthi missile launchers that were ready to launch attacks,” Mr Kirby said.

“These actions were… done in self-defence, but it also helps make safer international waters for both naval vessels as well as merchant shipping.”

The air campaign against the Houthis began last week with American and British strikes on nearly 30 sites in Yemen using more than 150 munitions, while US forces later attacked a Houthi radar site in what was described as “a follow-on action” to the previous strikes.

Growing Middle East crisis

Since then, American forces have carried out further air raids against missiles that Washington says were ready to launch and posed a threat to both civilian and military vessels.

Washington is also seeking to put diplomatic and financial pressure on the Houthis, re-designating them as a “terrorist” entity after previously dropping that label soon after President Joe Biden took office.

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