STORY BY: Andreas Exarheas |RigZone| The militaries of the U.S. and UK – at the direction of their respective governments, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands – conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against eight Houthi targets in Yemen, a joint statement from all countries involved noted.
The strikes were “in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea”, the statement, which was posted on the U.S. Department of Defense website outlined.
“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi actions since our coalition strikes on January 11, including anti-ship ballistic missile and unmanned aerial system attacks that struck two U.S.-owned merchant vessels,” it added.
The statement highlighted that the strikes specifically targeted a Houthi underground storage site and locations associated with the Houthis’ missile and air surveillance capabilities.
“The Houthis’ now more than thirty attacks on international and commercial vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge,” the statement said.
“Recognizing the broad consensus of the international community, we again acted as part of a coalition of like-minded countries committed to upholding the rules-based order, protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce, and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on mariners and commercial shipping,” it added.
“Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,” it continued.
In a statement posted on its X page on Monday, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) revealed that the strikes occurred that day at approximately 11.59pm Sanaa time.
“The targets included missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, radars, and deeply buried weapons storage facilities,” Centcom said in the statement, which included a video of the operation.
“These strikes are intended to degrade Houthi capability to continue their reckless and unlawful attacks on U.S. and U.K. ships as well as international commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden,” it added.
“These strikes are separate and distinct from the multinational freedom of navigation actions performed under Operation Prosperity Guardian,” Centcom continued.
A statement posted on the UK Ministry of Defence website noted that four Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a pair of Voyager tankers, joined U.S. forces in a deliberate strike against Houthi sites in Yemen.
“Our aircraft used Paveway IV precision-guided bombs to strike multiple targets at two military sites in the vicinity of Sanaa airfield,” the statement said.
“These locations were being used to enable the continued intolerable attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea. This follows our initial operation on 11 January, and subsequent U.S. action, to degrade the Houthis’ capability to conduct such attacks,” it added.
“In line with UK standard practice, a very rigorous analysis was applied in planning the strikes to minimize any risk of civilian casualties, and as with the previous strikes, our aircraft bombed at night to mitigate yet further any such risks,” it continued.
In a statement posted on its X page on January 12, Centcom noted that on January 11 at 2.30 am Sanaa time, its forces – in coordination with the UK, and with support from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain – conducted joint strikes on Houthi targets.
The strikes aimed to “degrade their capability to continue their illegal and reckless attacks on U.S. and international vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea”, the statement, which included a video of that operation, highlighted.
In a statement published on the U.S. Defense Department’s website on December 18, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian, which he described as “an important new multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea”.
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