US Launches Airstrikes Against Houthis in Yemen

Biden says response shows assaults on commercial ships in Red Sea won't stand
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2024 6:51 PM CST
Updated Jan 11, 2024 7:04 PM CST
US Strikes Houthi Sites in Yemen After Red Sea Attacks
Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder takes questions from reporters Thursday, before the airstrikes in Yemen began, about possible retaliation for the Houthis' attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Along with allies, the US launched airstrikes against more than a dozen Houthi installations in Yemen on Thursday, retaliation that President Biden said demonstrates that a 20-nation coalition "will not tolerate" the persistent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. The US strikes involve Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from a Navy submarine, and fighter jets that took off from the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, the New York Times reports. The Houthis' attacks, purportedly a message opposing Israel's offensive in Gaza, had been escalated this week. A 20-nation coalition that includes the US had warned that a response was imminent if the Red Sea attacks did not cease.

The initial wave of airstrikes hit radars, missile and drone launch sites, and weapons storage areas. Senior American officials have blamed Iran, saying its technological and intelligence support of the Houthis made the shipping attacks possible. Britain took part in the strikes Thursday, and US officials said the operation is to also include the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and Bahrain. The Houthis have controlled parts of Yemen since 2014, per ABC News reports. Earlier Thursday, Houthi leader Abdul Malek Al-Houthi said in a speech that any US attack on Yemen sites "will not go unanswered," per CNN.

In a statement, Biden said the strikes are in response to the attacks on international vessels, which he called unprecedented. "These attacks have endangered US personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation," he said. The strikes were the first military action by the US since the Houthis' drone and missile attacks began early in the Israel-Hamas war, per the AP. For the first time, Biden said, the military used anti-ship ballistic missiles. In his statement, the president said he won't hesitate to "direct further measures" if necessary. (More US military stories.)

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