The US, Britain and other allies have struck suspected Houthi militia positions in Yemen for the first time after the Iran-backed group began attacking international ships in the Red Sea late last year. Several targets were attacked by fighter jets, among other things, they reported New York Times, the US broadcaster CNN and other media, citing informed sources. There was initially no official confirmation of the attacks from the US government.
There had recently been increasing signs of a reaction from the USA and its allies. In recent days, Britain’s Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has repeatedly warned of consequences if the attacks do not stop. According to British media reports, on Thursday evening British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called his cabinet together for telephone consultations at short notice in order to inform them about the impending military attacks.
US National Security Council communications director John Kirby warned the Houthis on Thursday that they would face the consequences if they did not stop their attacks. Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder declined to comment on reports from Britain about possible action against the Houthis at a press conference in Washington DC.
UN resolution condemns Houthi attacks
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Wednesday calling for an end to attacks by the Iran-backed Islamist Houthi militia in Yemen on merchant ships in the Red Sea. The paper adopted in New York condemns the attacks and calls for their “immediate cessation”. Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee in Yemen, describes the resolution as a “political game.” It is the USA that is violating international law.
Since the Gaza war broke out between Israel and the Islamist Hamas, the Houthis have repeatedly attacked ships with alleged Israeli connections in the Red Sea. Large shipping companies are increasingly avoiding the important trade route. The Houthis also repeatedly attack Israel directly with drones and rockets. Around ten percent of all world trade passes through the Red Sea. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, providing the shortest sea route between Asia and Europe.