The US and the UK on Thursday night launched strikes against more than a dozen sites in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, where the majority of Yemenis live, in a move that risks escalating the situation in the Middle East into a major regional war.
A US official told CNN that the strikes were launched by fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles fired by warships and submarines and that Houthi drone and missile sites were targeted. Yemeni media reported strikes in several cities, including the capital, Sanaa, and the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.
President Biden said in a statement that the strikes received support from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain. He claimed that the US and Britain “successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation.”
The bombing of Yemen came in response to Houthi attacks on Israel-linked shipping in the Red Sea that started in protest of the US-backed Israeli onslaught in Gaza. The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, have vowed not to back down in the face of the US military and said their attacks in the Red Sea will only stop once the Israeli slaughter in Gaza ends.
Ahead of the US and British strikes on Yemen, Houthi leader Abdel-Malik al-Houthi vowed a strong response. “Any American attack will not remain without a response. The response will be greater than the attack that was carried out with 20 drones and a number of missiles,” he said.
So far, there have been no reports of the number of casualties caused by the US and British strikes. The US and its allies have a history of killing civilians in Yemen, as the UN estimated in 2021 that about 377,000 people were killed by the US-backed Saudi/UAE war against the Houthis that started in 2015. More than half died of starvation and disease caused by the blockade and the coalition’s brutal bombing campaign.
The strikes risk shattering a fragile truce between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition that’s held since April 2022, although the Saudis have distanced themselves from the US anti-Houthi activity in the Red Sea.
Some members of Congress have criticized President Biden for launching the strikes in Yemen without congressional authorization. “The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another middle east conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) wrote on X.