U.S. and U.K. carry out fresh strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

U.S. and U.K. carry out fresh strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

The United States and Britain carried out fresh strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday night, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement, marking the largest military action against the militant group in weeks.

The strikes were launched just before midnight local time with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand, hitting underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one-way attack drones, air defense systems, radars and a helicopter, Austin said.

According to a statement from the coalition, the strikes hit 18 targets in eight locations. They are the latest effort to stop Houthi attacks against commercial ships transiting the Red Sea, Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden.

“The United States will not hesitate to take action, as needed, to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” Austin said.

The Iranian-backed Houthi militants have said they will target ships linked to Israel or heading to its ports in response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza. They have launched at least 57 attacks on international shipping since November.

In a Sunday statement on social media, the Houthis condemned the strikes and said they would continue their “military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arab Seas.”

On Saturday, U.S. Central Command said the USS Mason warship had successfully intercepted an anti-ship missile launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. U.S. forces believed the missile was probably targeting a U.S.-owned cargo tanker, the MV Torm Thor, it said, and shot it down with no damage or injuries. In a statement Sunday, Houthi Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, a military spokesman, said the group deployed naval missiles targeting the ship.

Here’s what else to know

Israel’s war cabinet discussed the framework on a possible deal to free the remaining hostages in Gaza late Saturday, as officials reported progress in negotiations held in Paris the day before between Egypt, Israel, the United States and Qatar, which serves as an intermediary for Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would convene the war cabinet again early this week to approve “operational plans for action” in Rafah, including the “evacuation of the civilian population.” Israel’s allies and aid agencies have warned against an offensive in Rafah, a border city in the Gaza Strip where about 1.4 million Palestinians are crammed without anywhere safe to go.

At least 29,692 people have been killed in Gaza and 69,879 injured since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack and says 239 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operation in Gaza.  » …
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