US-UK Forces Strike Houthi Rebels After Shipping Attacks

A joint mission by U.S. and U.K. forces struck several targets utilized by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday. This followed a series of missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping by the group in what they claim is retaliation for the Israel-Hamas war.

Despite the regular strikes on vessels in the Red Sea, the U.S. had not struck facilities inside Yemen until Thursday.

The Associated Press reported the coalition fired Tomahawk missiles from fighter planes and warships. They hit several targets, including logistical centers, supply hubs and air defense infrastructure.

The Biden administration attempted last month to form an international coalition but had few takers. Despite this effort, Houthis continued to carry out disruptive strikes on shipping through the region.

This prompted several firms to reroute their vessels around the southern tip of Africa, adding time and costs to their deliveries.

This week’s surge in rebel strikes was countered by American and British forces, which shot down 21 missiles and drones. Regional instability, however, is only expected to worsen after Thursday’s launches on Houthi forces.

The sweeping retaliation was reportedly conducted with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.

President Joe Biden asserted the strikes were authorized to respond to “unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea.” 

He added that the Iran-backed rebels used anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time. Targeting commercial vessels, the Democrat noted, endangered personnel of both the U.S. and its allies.

Biden was not expected to address the response to attacks on shipping after the White House declared Thursday there would be no more public pronouncements. This followed a whirlwind of controversy concerning Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s secretive hospital stay.

A joint statement issued by several nations declared the strikes were conducted to foil attempts by the Houthis “to threaten global trade and the lives of international mariners in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”

U.S. military personnel are increasingly under attack in the Middle East since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist invasion of Israel. Officials report over 100 incidents targeting American servicemembers in Iraq and Syria.

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