Picture: Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Taken on January 5, 2024 – Yemeni Houthi-affiliated security forces stand guard during a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa on January 5, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant Hamas group in Gaza. Heavy air strikes pounded rebel-held cities in Yemen early on January 12, 2024, the Houthi rebels’ official media and AFP correspondents said. The capital Sanaa, Hodeida and Saada were all targeted, the Houthis’ official media said, blaming “American aggression with British participation”.
Iran has lambasted air strikes by the US and UK on rebel targets in Yemen, saying they were an “arbitrary action” and a “violation” of international law.
In a statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanani, “strongly condemned the military attacks yesterday morning on several Yemeni cities”, after repeated attacks on Red Sea shipping by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The Kremlin also condemned what it said were “illegitimate” strikes by the US and the UK on Houthis in Yemen.
Moscow has railed against what it sees as Western intervention in the Middle East, a region racked by the war in Gaza.
The US and British strikes came in response to Houthi attacks on what they deemed to be Israeli-linked ships travelling in the Red Sea.
“We have repeatedly called on the Houthis to abandon this practice and consider it extremely wrong,” the Kremlin said.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels will continue targeting Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea despite overnight air strikes by the US and Britain, their spokesperson said yesterday.
“We affirm that there is absolutely no justification for this aggression against Yemen, as there was no threat to international navigation in the Red and Arabian Seas, and the targeting was affecting and will continue to affect Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine,” Mohammed Abdulsalam posted on social media platform X.
Heavy air strikes pounded targets in Yemen after weeks of disruptive attacks on Red Sea shipping by the Houthi forces acting in solidarity with Hamas since the eruption of Israel’s war in Gaza sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7.
The Houthi rebels have controlled a major part of Yemen since a civil war erupted there in 2014 and are part of the Iran-backed “axis of resistance” arrayed against Israel.
The strikes yesterday targeted an airbase, airports and a military camp, the Houthi rebels’ Al-Masirah TV station said, with AFP correspondents and witnesses also reporting they could hear bombardments.
“Our country was subjected to a massive aggressive attack by American and British ships, submarines and warplanes,” Houthi Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi said, according to official rebel media.
“America and Britain will have to prepare to pay a heavy price and bear all the dire consequences of this blatant aggression.”
US President Joe Biden called the US and British strikes a “defensive action” after the Red Sea attacks and said he “will not hesitate” to order further military action if needed.
The strikes involved fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles, the US Air Forces Central Command said in a statement. Sixty targets at 16 Houthi locations were hit by more than 100 precision-guided munitions, it said.
“Today, at my direction, US 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,” Biden said in a statement, using an alternative spelling of Houthi. – AFP