US, Britain conduct strikes against Houthis in Yemen, officials say

The United States and Britain have executed air and sea strikes on Houthi military targets in Yemen, responding to the group’s Red Sea ship attacks. This move marks a significant expansion of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Witnesses in Yemen, speaking to Reuters, confirmed nationwide explosions. President Joe Biden, in a late Thursday statement, indicated his willingness to take further measures if necessary.

Biden stressed that the strikes send a clear message against attacks on U.S. personnel and threats to navigation freedom. The British Defence Ministry noted the strikes have likely diminished the Houthis’ threat to merchant shipping.

Iran, a Houthi supporter, condemned the strikes. A Houthi spokesperson argued there’s no justification for these attacks and vowed continued targeting of Israel-bound ships.

Russia has called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting to address these strikes. The Houthis claim their Red Sea attacks support Palestinians and Hamas, Gaza’s Islamist rulers.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, hospitalized due to surgery complications, said the strikes aimed at Houthi capabilities, including drones, missiles, coastal radar, and air surveillance systems.

A Houthi official acknowledged “raids” in Sanaa, Saada, Dhamar, and Hodeidah governorate, labeling them “American-Zionist-British aggression.” Reuters was told the raids hit a military base near Sanaa airport, a site near Taiz airport, a Houthi naval base in Hodeidah, and military locations in Hajjah governorate.