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Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 07:47 IST

US, UK Conduct Second Joint Strikes Against Houthi targets in Yemen, call it 'act of self-defence'

Amid the brewing tensions in the Red Sea, the US and the UK conducted a second set of joint military strikes against several Houthi targets in Yemen.

US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak | Image:AP / X - @CENTCOM
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Sana'a - Amid the brewing tensions in the Red Sea, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted a second set of joint military strikes against several Houthi targets in Yemen. According to CBS News, the joint strikes were launched against eight target bases of the Iran-backed militant group on Monday and were conducted with the support of countries like Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands. Shortly after the joint strike, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the attack and called it an “act of self-defence”. Tensions started to escalate between the Iran-backed group and the West following the commencement of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Initially, the Yemen group insisted that they were only focusing on the vessels and that entering or exiting the Israeli coast and the attack were in response to Israel's ground operation in Gaza.

“As part of ongoing international efforts to respond to increased Houthi destabilizing and illegal activities in the region, on Jan. 22 at approximately 11:59 p.m. (Sanaa / Yemen time), U.S. Central Command forces alongside UK Armed Forces, and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, conducted strikes on 8 Houthi targets in Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen,” US Central Command wrote on X, formally known as Twitter. “These strikes from this multilateral coalition targeted areas in Houthi-controlled Yemen and used to attack international merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region. The targets included missile systems and launchers, air defence systems, radars, and deeply buried weapons storage facilities,” CENTCOM furthered. In total, the United States has conducted eight rounds of airstrikes against the Houthis after the group wreaked havoc in the Red Sea. 

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US and UK's stance on the matter 

On Monday, both the United States and the United Kingdom confirmed the incident and called it an act of self-defence. The White House also confirmed that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had spoken with US President Joe Biden about the ongoing attacks against naval vessels in the Red Sea. “Mr Biden and Mr Sunak reiterated their commitment to freedom of navigation, international commerce, and defending mariners from illegal and unjustifiable attacks,” a White House spokesperson told CBS News. “The president and prime minister discussed the importance of increasing humanitarian aid and civilian protections for people in Gaza, and securing the release of hostages held by Hamas,” the official furthered. 

Not only this, the governments of the countries involved in the accident also released a joint statement on the matter and mentioned that the main motive of the attack was to “disrupt and downgrade” Houthis' capabilities. "These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilising Houthi actions since our coalition strikes on January 11," the joint statement reads. “Today's strike specifically targeted a Houthi underground storage site and locations associated with the Houthis' missile and air surveillance capabilities. The Houthis' now more than thirty attacks on international and commercial vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge,” the statement further reads. The strike came a week after the United States re-designated Houthis as a terrorist organisation, a move which is designed to cut off the funding indirectly garnered by the rebel group. 

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Published January 23rd, 2024 at 07:47 IST

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