The USA says it has again attacked Houthi targets in Yemen. The militia has been attacking international merchant ships for months and has justified this with Israel’s deployment in the Gaza Strip.
After another drone attack on a ship in the Gulf of Aden, the USA again attacked positions of the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi militia in Yemen on Thursday night. The military strike targeted 14 rockets that had been prepared for launch, the responsible regional command of the US military announced on Wednesday evening (local time).
The US military had previously announced that a combat drone launched in Yemen had hit a US freighter flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. There was some damage, but no injuries. A few days ago, the United States reclassified the militia as a terrorist organization.
Houthi missiles “imminent threat”
“These launch-launched missiles posed an imminent threat to commercial and U.S. Navy vessels and could have been fired at any time,” the regional command said. The US armed forces exercised “their right and obligation” to defend themselves. The armed forces would continue their “activities to protect the lives of innocent sailors,” said Centcom commander Michael Erik Kurilla.
Media in the USA and Yemen had previously reported on the renewed attacks. It was the fourth time in less than a week that US forces targeted Iranian-backed Houthi militia positions. The Houthi-run Al-Masirah television channel spoke of renewed “American-British aggression.” Targets included the port city of Hodeida and the city of Tais. Accordingly, in addition to the two cities, the three provinces of Dhamar, al-Bajda and Saada were also hit in the latest attacks.
A resident of Hodeida told AFP that he heard an explosion in the east of the city near the airport at around 2:16 a.m. (local time).
Militia continues to attack merchant ships
The USA and Great Britain jointly attacked Houthi positions last week. The two countries responded to the pro-Iranian militia’s series of drone and missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea. As a result, the USA again attacked Houthi targets several times.
The militia, which controls large parts of Yemen, has continued its attacks on ships. On Wednesday, it used a drone to attack the cargo ship “Genco Picardy” in the Gulf of Aden, which sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands but is owned and operated by a US company. No one was injured, but there was damage to the ship.
On Wednesday, the USA announced that it would classify the Houthis as a terrorist organization again and put them on a corresponding list. “The Houthis must be held accountable for their actions,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. But this should not come at the expense of the Yemeni civilian population. The militia classification will reportedly come into effect in 30 days.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that if the Houthis stop their attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, “the United States will immediately re-evaluate this classification.” The US government removed the Houthi militia from a list of terrorist organizations at the beginning of 2021, shortly after Biden took office, in order not to complicate international crisis aid for the civil war country of Yemen.
Immediately after being reclassified as a terrorist organization, the Houthi rebels announced on Wednesday that they wanted to continue attacking ships. “We will not stop targeting Israeli ships or ships heading to ports in occupied Palestine,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdelsalam told Qatari television channel Al Jazeera. It’s about “supporting the Palestinian people.”
“Axis of Resistance” against Israel
After an unprecedented major attack by the Islamist Hamas, Israel declared war on the Palestinian organization and launched a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Hamas fighters brutally attacked Israel on October 7th, killing around 1,140 people and kidnapping around 250 people as hostages in the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 24,400 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the war began.
The Houthis have carried out numerous drone and missile attacks on ships since the start of the war. The Shiite militia sees itself as part of the self-proclaimed “Axis of Resistance” directed against Israel, which includes not only the radical Islamic Hamas but also the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. Both are also classified as terrorist organizations by the USA and the EU.
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called on Iran on Wednesday to stop supplying weapons to the Houthis. Rather, Tehran must use its influence over the militia “to stop Houthi attacks in the Red Sea,” Cameron wrote on Wednesday in the short message service X, formerly Twitter.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.