Houthis Say Retaliation Will Be 'Beyond Imagination'

Rebels vow to respond to US, British strikes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2024 6:41 AM CST
Houthis Vow to Respond to US, British Strikes
In this photo provided by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, taken from the bridge of HMS Diamond, Sea Viper missiles are fired in the Red Sea.   (UK Ministry of Defence via AP)

Houthi rebels in Yemen vowed to respond Friday after American and British airstrikes hit dozens of targets across the country. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said five people were killed in a total of 73 strikes, Al Jazeera reports. "The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression against our Yemeni people, and it will not go unanswered and unpunished," he said. The group vowed to continue its attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea. Another Houthi official, Ali al-Qahoum, warned on social media that the retaliation would be "beyond the imagination and expectation of the Americans and the British," per the AP. More:

  • Biden says attacks were necessary. "These attacks have endangered US personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation," the president said of the attacks on shipping. A US-led coalition issued a "final warning" on Wednesday after around two dozen attacks since October.

  • Both Republicans and Democrats support strikes. Lawmakers from both parties welcomed the strikes, with some calling them overdue, the New York Times reports. "I am hopeful these operations mark an enduring shift in the Biden administration's approach to Iran and its proxies," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • The background. The Guardian takes a look at the Houthis and at why they've been attacking shipping. The group, which controls most of western Yemen, is supporting Hamas in the war in Gaza and began targeting shipping soon after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
  • Austin issues statement from hospital. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who has been hospitalized since Jan. 1, issued a statement saying the US and British strikes were supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, the Washington Post reports. He said the aim was "to disrupt and degrade the Houthis' capabilities."

  • Strikes "won't eliminate the threat." The strikes might have "degraded and destroyed some of the Houthis' ability to launch attacks on shipping in the Red Sea," says Jonathan Beale at the BBC. "But the Houthis have survived much worse—including years of being targeted by the Saudi Air Force," he says. Beale says airstrikes "won't eliminate the threat," but "more of the same" is the only politically viable option for the US and the UK.
  • Russia condemns strikes. Al Jazeera rounds up international responses to the strikes. Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called them "another example of the Anglo-Saxons' perversion of UN Security Council resolutions." Saudi Arabia, which has been fighting the Houthis for years but has engaged in peace talks in recent months, called for restraint and "avoiding escalation."
(More Houthis stories.)

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