US launches new strikes against Yemen’s Houthis as conflict escalates

US launches new strikes against Yemen’s Houthis as conflict escalates

Washington (Web Desk/Agencies): The United States (US) launched additional strikes against the Yemen’s Houthi forces for a second straight day after President Joe Biden’s administration vowed to protect shipping in the Red Sea.

The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Saturday that Tomahawk missiles were fired from the US Navy’s USS Carney at a Houthi radar site. 

These strikes came a day after dozens of American and British strikes on the Iran-backed group’s facilities

“U.S. forces conducted a strike against a Houthi radar site in Yemen. This strike was conducted by the USS Carney (DDG 64) using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles and was a follow-on action on a specific military target associated with strikes taken on Jan. 12 designed to degrade the Houthi’s ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels”, the US central command said on X (formerly Twitter).

US President Joe Biden warned on Friday that he could order more strikes. “We will make sure that we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behavior.”

The US Department of Defense said that its first night of attacks on Yemen late on Thursday involved more than 150 munitions fired from US and UK “maritime and air platforms” that targeted more than 16 locations controlled by Houthi forces.

The US says the Houthis have carried out 27 attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea since commandeering the Galaxy Leader and its 25-strong multinational crew on November 19.

On the other hand, the Houthis say their campaign is part of their support for Palestinians under siege and bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza over the past three months.

The Houthis, who have controlled most of Yemen for nearly a decade, said 5 fighters were killed. They promised to continue their attacks on regional shipping.

The Houthi movement’s television channel, Al-Masirah, reported that the US and Britain were targeting the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, with raids.

It is important to mention that the strikes are the first on Yemeni territory since 2016 and also marked the first military intervention by the US in reaction to drone and missile attacks on commercial ships since Israel’s war on Gaza started on October 7.

However, not all major US allies have backed the strikes in Yemen. While Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Bahrain provided logistical and intelligence support, Germany, Denmark, New Zealand and South Korea signed a joint statement defending the attacks and warning of further action.

But Italy, Spain and France chose not to sign or participate, fearing a wider escalation. While Russian has condemned Western airstrikes in Yemen targeting Houthis, saying the strikes showed a "complete disregard for international law" and were "escalating the situation in the region."