A coalition led by the United States and the United Kingdom has launched a number of missile attacks on Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen. The strikes come after weeks of attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, which erupted following the war in Gaza.
President Biden said he ordered the strikes “in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime 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.”
According to Pentagon officials, more than a dozen Houthi-controlled military sites were struck by Tomahawk missiles and airstrikes. The sites were chosen for their ability to degrade the group’s ability to continue attacks on shipping, a U.S. official told CNN. Targeted sites include radar installations, drone storage and launch sites, as well as missile storage and launch sites.
Senior administration officials briefed members of Congress about the plan on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The strikes could pose the risk of dragging the United States into another protracted foreign conflict. The Houthi movement controls roughly half of Yemen, including the capital of Sanaa, after gaining control through the decade-long civil war. A rival, internationally recognized government has based itself in Aden since 2015.
With significant support from Iran, the Houthis were able to expel a Saudi-led coalition of Muslim nations while inflicting heavy damage in the mid-late 2010’s.
In response to the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis have launched a number of attacks on Israeli commercial vessels or vessels headed for Israeli ports, the militants claim. This has resulted in exchanges of fire with U.S. warships on numerous occasions, which have been deployed to the region since the October 7 attacks.
This is a developing story.