The United States and Britain launched strikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen, on the second day of major US operations against Iran-linked groups, following a deadly attack on US troops last weekend .
The strikes late Saturday hit weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers and other buried capabilities that the Houthis have used to attack ships in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said, adding that they had targeted 13 sites across the country.
These are the latest blows in a conflict that has expanded across the Middle East since October 7, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas stormed Israel from the Gaza Strip, sparking a war that has resulted in groups supported by Tehran in attacks against American and Israeli targets. on several fronts.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said the strikes “will not go unanswered and without consequences.”
“The building I live in shook,” said Fatimah, a resident of Houthi-controlled Sanaa, adding that it had been years since she had felt such explosions in a country that had suffered for years of war.
The Houthis have not announced any casualties.
The strikes in Yemen come alongside a U.S. campaign of retaliation for the killing of three American soldiers in a drone strike by Iran-backed militants on an outpost in Jordan a week ago.
The United States carried out the first wave of retaliation on Friday, striking more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the militias it supports, killing nearly 40 people. .
The violence added to concerns about the risk of further escalation. Iran, a supporter of Hamas, has so far avoided any direct role in the conflict, although groups it supports have entered the fray from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
Iran does not want escalation, analyst says
Mahjoob Zweiri, director of the Center for Gulf Studies at Qatar University, does not expect a change in the Iranian approach, even after the latest US strikes.
“They keep the enemy behind the borders, very far away. They are not interested in direct military confrontation that could lead to attacks on their cities or their countries. They will maintain this status quo,” he told Reuters.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the latest attacks on Yemen constituted “a blatant violation of international law by the United States and Britain”, warning that continued such attacks posed a “disturbing threat for international peace and security.
The Pentagon has said it does not want war with Iran, nor does it believe Tehran wants war. US Republicans have been pressuring Democratic President Joe Biden to deliver a direct blow to Iran.
The Houthis, who control large swathes of Yemen, say their attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinians as Israel strikes Gaza. The United States and its allies call them indiscriminate operations and a threat to global trade.
More than a dozen US strikes
Major shipping companies have largely abandoned Red Sea shipping lanes for longer routes around Africa. This has led to rising costs, fueling concerns about global inflation while depriving Egypt of crucial foreign revenues from use of the Suez Canal.
The United States has carried out more than a dozen strikes against Houthi targets in recent weeks.
Sarea, the Houthi spokesperson, suggested in a statement on social media that the group would continue.
“These attacks will not dissuade us from our ethical, religious and humanitarian stance in support of the resilient Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” Sarea said.
Just hours before the latest major wave of sea and air strikes, the US military’s Central Command detailed other, more limited strikes over the past day, including the attack of six cruise missiles that the Houthis s were preparing to launch against ships in the Red Sea.
Around 4 a.m. on Sunday in Yemen, the US military also struck a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile that was about to be launched.