Yemen’s Houthi spokesperson says targeting of ships heading towards Israel will continue, after United States backed coalition, including United Kingdom, launches heavy airstrikes across Yemen.
The attack by the US and UK on Yemen comes weeks after the Houthi rebels allegedly unleashed disruptive attacks on Red Sea hurting commercial shipping on the trade route.
According to reports, the airstrikes by US and UK on Yemen targeted an airbase, airports, and a military camp.
Houthi Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Al-Ezzi had earlier in the day said, “Our country was subjected to a massive aggressive attack by American and British ships, submarines and warplanes”.
“America and Britain will have to prepare to pay a heavy price and bear all the dire consequences of this blatant aggression,” Al-Ezzi added.
Houthi television channel Al-Massirah said the air strikes hit the capital Sanaa as well as the cities of Hodeida and Saada.
The flare-up in the oil-rich Middle East crisis comes weeks after Houthis reportedly attacked ships in the Red Sea. While the Houthis have claimed their attack is in defense of Palestinians in Gaza against Israel, it has been noted that many ships attacked by Houthis were tenuously or not related to Israel.
US and British forces this week reportedly shot down 18 drones and three missiles fired by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea in what Washington called a “complex Iranian-designed” attack.
Houthis have been in control of 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.
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.
Notably, Yemen’s neighbour Saudi Arabia, which is trying to end its involvement in a nine-year war with the Houthis, urged against escalation.