US carries out fresh strikes in Yemen, Houthis threaten ‘strong, effective response’

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Tomahawk missiles being launched from a US destroyer as US launched strikes on Yemen on January 12, 2024. [Photo: US Air Forces Cetral]

The Houthi movement has issued a stern warning of a “strong and effective response” following another overnight strike by the United States in Yemen.

This development further intensifies tensions as Washington remains committed to safeguarding shipping from potential attacks by the Iran-aligned group.

These strikes have added to growing concerns about the escalation of the conflict that has spread through the region, particularly since the recent hostilities between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel. Iran’s allies from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq have also become entangled in the fray.

The latest U.S. strike, which targeted a radar site, occurred just a day after numerous American and British strikes on Houthi facilities in Yemen.

Nasruldeen Amer, a Houthi spokesperson, conveyed to Al Jazeera that this new strike would elicit a “firm, strong, and effective response.” He emphasised that there were no reported injuries or material damages.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, another spokesperson for the Houthi movement, informed Reuters that the series of strikes, including the one overnight that hit a military base in Sanaa, had no significant impact on the group’s ability to obstruct Israel-affiliated vessels in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

The Houthis assert that their maritime campaign is geared towards supporting Palestinians under Israeli siege and facing attacks in Gaza, which is governed by the Iran-backed Hamas. Notably, many of the vessels targeted by the Houthis have no known connection to Israel.

The Houthi-controlled regions, including Sanaa and much of the west and north of Yemen, have witnessed the group’s deployment of drones and missiles towards Israel up the Red Sea.

In response to the situation, the US Central Command announced that the guided missile destroyer Carney employed Tomahawk missiles in the follow-on strike to degrade the Houthis’ capacity to attack maritime vessels, including commercial ones.

Despite Houthi leaders vowing retaliation, U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Friday that he could order additional strikes if the attacks on merchant and military vessels persist in one of the world’s most economically vital waterways. Biden emphasised a commitment to responding to what he referred to as “outrageous behavior” by the Houthis.

White House spokesperson John Kirby clarified that the initial strikes were targeted at degrading the Houthis’ capabilities to store, launch, and guide missiles or drones, asserting that the U.S. has no interest in a war with Yemen.

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