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Dhaka Tribune

US, Britain carry out strikes across Yemen in retaliation for Houthi attacks

  • Witnesses confirmed explosions throughout Yemen
  • The Houthis said five of their fighters had been killed in a total of 73 air strikes


Update : 12 Jan 2024, 05:48 PM

US and British warplanes, ships and submarines struck across Yemen overnight in retaliation against Iran-backed Houthi forces for attacks on Red Sea shipping, a widening of regional conflict triggered by Israel's war in Gaza.

Witnesses confirmed explosions throughout Yemen, saying raids targeted a military base adjacent to Sanaa airport, a military site near Taiz airport, a Houthi naval base in Hodeidah and military sites in Hajjah governorate.

"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," US President Joe Biden said.

The Houthis said five of their fighters had been killed in a total of 73 air strikes and said they would retaliate for the strikes and continue their attacks on shipping, which they describe as intended to support Palestinians against Israel.

A US official said more than a dozen locations were targeted in strikes that were not just symbolic but intended to weaken the Houthis' military capabilities.

"We were going after very specific capability in very specific locations with precision munitions," the official said.

Kheloud, a resident of the capital Sanaa who gave just her first name, awoke to loud explosions from the direction of the airport to the north: "We saw a large fire from where the attack took place. It was half an hour of terror."

In a country only just emerging from nearly a decade of war that brought millions of people to the brink of famine, morning brought long queues at petrol stations from people fearing an extended new conflict with the West.

"There is a lot of worry that the fuel shortages will repeat themselves and food supplies will be scarce," said Ali Ahmad, 52. "We are rushing to fuel our car and we bought flour and rice in case of any emergency because we are expecting the Houthis to respond and an escalation to take place."

In Yemen's main Red Sea port Hodeidah, a resident who gave only his first name Mahmoud said troops were spreading through the streets and military vehicles were leaving barracks with security escorts.

Britain's defence ministry said early indications were that "the Houthis' ability to threaten merchant shipping has taken a blow." James Heappey, a junior defence minister no further action was planned for now.

The Houthis, an armed movement that took control of most of Yemen over the past decade, have been attacking shipping lanes at the mouth of the Red Sea, where 15% of the world's seaborne trade passes on routes between Europe and Asia.

The United States and allies had deployed a naval task force to the area in December, and the situation had escalated in recent days.

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