Yemen Issues Defiant Response to US and UK Strikes

Tens of thousands of Yemenis rally across the country in a strong response to the Western strikes

A day after dozens of US and UK bombs and missiles rained down on northern Yemen, tens of thousands took to the streets in a show of unity. Yemeni officials downplayed the impact of the Western strikes claiming a small number of casualties and minor infrastructure damage.

On Thursday night, the US and UK fired scores of munitions at Yemen. US Central Command claimed that the strikes “targeted radar systems, air defense systems, and storage and launch sites for one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.” Washington reports striking 60 targets across 16 locations.

According to the Guardian, British forces hit targets in northwest Yemen, while Americans targeted larger cities including Saada, Saana, and Hodeida. Both the airport and port in Hodeida were reported to be targets. The Port of Hodeida is crucial for commerce and for badly needed aid to reach the country.

On Friday, the Houthis reported the Western strikes had a minimal impact. Yemeni officials reported five fighters were killed and six wounded. The Houthis said damage to their infrastructure was limited but attacks would not go “unanswered and unpunished.”

Nasr Aldeen Amer, vice president of the Houthi Media Authority, stated “Without hesitation, and we will not back down from our position in supporting the Palestinian people, whatever the cost.” At least tens of thousands of Yemenis turned out in multiple cities the day after the strike in a show of unity.

The US and UK are bombing Yemen as a spillover of Israel’s brutal war in Gaza. The Houthis have pledged to stop all Israeli-linked shipping in the Red Sea in an effort to pressure Tel Aviv to end its military campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip.

Washington and London claim the Houthis attempt to block Israeli shipping violates “freedom of navigation” and international law. However, the US has helped Saudi Arabia enforce a blockade of Yemen for about nine years.

President Joe Biden said the strikes serve as “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 in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes.”

Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, as reported in Reuters said “We did not attack the shores of America, nor did we move in the American islands, nor did we attack them. Your strikes on our country are terrorism.” He added, “They are terrorists and they are amazing at lying to the people of the world, but the awareness of the Yemeni people is a different awareness. Do you, Yemeni, think that America is defending itself or is it a terrorist?”

Hussein al-Ezzi, a Houthi Foreign Ministry official, explained that “America and Britain will undoubtedly have to prepare to pay a heavy price and bear all the dire consequences of this blatant aggression.”

Mohammed Albasha, senior Yemen analyst at the Virginia-based research firm Navanti Group, said the strikes were unlikely to have any long-term impact on the Houthis. “If the strikes successfully targeted drone and missile manufacturing facilities, it could temporarily hinder Houthi capabilities,” he explained. “However, given their adaptability and quick recovery demonstrated throughout the prolonged conflict, the impact may be short-term.”

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam, “Our response to the American-British aggression is inevitably coming; this isn’t going to deter us.”

Suggesting the conflict is likely to escalate further, President Biden also threatened future attacks. “I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce, as necessary,” a White House statement issued after the strikes said.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.