The US and UK militaries launched strikes against multiple Houthi targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Thursday, marking a significant response after the Biden administration and its allies warned that the Iran-backed militant group would bear the consequences of repeated drone and missile attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.
Over 100 precision-guided munitions of various types were used in the strikes. These strikes were comprised of coalition air and maritime strike and support assets from across the region, including U.S. Naval Forces Central Command aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from surface and sub-surface platforms.
President Joe Biden said he ordered the strikes “in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea.” This multi-national strike reinforces the international community’s commitment to freedom of navigation and against repeated Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles attacks on commercial and U.S. and coalition military vessels in the Red Sea.
“Today, at my direction, U.S. military forces—together with the United Kingdom and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands—successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways,” the president said in a statement released by the White House.
Biden added that he will “not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”
The strikes are a sign of the growing international alarm over the threat to one of the world’s most critical waterways. For weeks, the US had sought to avoid direct strikes on Yemen because of the risk of escalation in a region already simmering with tension as the Israel-Hamas war continues, but the ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping compelled the coalition to act.