In a joint military operation, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted a series of precision airstrikes in Yemen on Thursday night, targeting Houthi military assets. The strikes, a response to over 25 attacks on commercial vessels in nearby waterways, utilized over 100 precision-guided munitions across 60 targets at 16 militant locations, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich.
The operation, led by U.S. Air Forces Central and CENTCOM’s Joint and Combined Air Component Command, aimed at disrupting the Houthi rebels’ ability to carry out attacks. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder highlighted that the strikes targeted command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems.
The U.S. Navy’s guided-missile submarine USS Florida, guided-missile destroyers, and the Navy’s Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles were employed, while the United Kingdom contributed four Typhoon fighter aircraft that dropped Paveway IV munitions with 500-pound warheads.
Early assessments indicate “good effects” and a “significant” impact, according to Maj. Gen. Ryder. The strikes mark the first attempt by the U.S. to degrade the Houthis’ capabilities in conducting such attacks, despite the establishment of an international task force to escort commercial vessels through the targeted waterways.
Houthi officials reported five casualties and warned of severe consequences for the U.S. and the U.K. Hussein al Ezzi, a Houthi official, stated that the two nations would “pay a heavy price” for their actions.
The international community had issued repeated warnings to the Houthis to cease their attacks, which targeted commercial shipping vessels in the Gulf of Aden, the Bab al Mandab Strait, and the Red Sea. The recent escalation came on Tuesday when the Houthis executed their largest attack since mid-November.
In response to the attacks, President Joe Biden was presented with response options, leading to the coordinated military action on Thursday night. While the U.S. had not observed any immediate retaliatory actions from the Houthis as of Friday morning, tensions remain high in the region.
Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Security Council, had previously pointed to Iran’s involvement in planning the Houthi attacks, emphasizing Iran’s role in providing tactical intelligence to the rebel group. In response, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the strikes as “arbitrary” and warned that they would only fuel “insecurity and instability in the region.”
As the situation develops, the global community closely watches the repercussions of these military actions in the complex geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.