US, Britain strike Yemen’s Houthis in a new wave, retaliating for attacks by Iran-backed militants

In a second wave of assaults, the United States and Britain targeted 36 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday, aiming to disable Iran-backed groups that have been attacking American and international interests. The strikes followed an air assault in Iraq and Syria on Friday, responding to a drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan. The U.S. Central Command stated that an additional strike on Sunday was conducted in self-defense against a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile. The strikes on Saturday involved U.S. warships, American and British fighter jets, hitting Houthi targets in 13 different locations.

While there is no direct suggestion that the Houthis were responsible for the soldiers’ deaths in Jordan, the U.S. warned of a response not limited to one night, one target, or one group. The Houthi attacks have been ongoing, targeting commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The Biden administration, along with support from allied nations, has indicated that this might not be the last of its strikes. The U.S. has attributed the Jordan attack to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias, and Iran has distanced itself from the drone strike.

The strikes targeted Houthis’ weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers, air defense systems, radars, and helicopters. The British military reported striking a ground control station used to control Houthi drones. President Joe Biden was briefed on the strikes before leaving for a West Coast campaign trip. The strikes mark the third time the U.S. and Britain have jointly targeted Houthi weapon launchers, radar sites, and drones. The broader message is to hold Iran responsible for arming, funding, and training various militias in the Middle East behind attacks against U.S. and international interests.

Video footage from Sanaa showed the sound of explosions and blasts lighting up the night sky. The strikes targeted locations in al-Bayda, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeida, Taiz, and Sanaa provinces. The Houthis have continued their attacks despite pressure from the U.S. and Britain. Shipping companies have rerouted vessels from the Red Sea due to the threats, leading to a longer and costlier passage. The U.S. and its allies have established a joint mission to provide air defense for ships transiting the Red Sea. The strikes aim to send a message to Iran and its supported militias across the Middle East. Iraqi officials have condemned U.S. retaliatory strikes in the region and called for the exit of U.S. troops from Iraq.