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12 Jan, 2024 00:20

US, UK strikes on Houthis in Yemen: As it happened

Blasts have occurred in Sanaa, Hodeidah and other cities, the Iran-backed Shia group said
US, UK strikes on Houthis in Yemen: As it happened

The US and UK began carrying out airstrikes on Houthi militias in Yemen in the early hours of Friday in response to the group targeting shipping routes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Washington and London launched their attacks without authorization from the UN Security Council. US President Joe Biden is also facing accusations from American lawmakers that he violated the Constitution as he didn’t ask for permission from Congress for the military operation.

The Houthis, who have pledged to support Gaza amid fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, have launched multiple drones and missiles targeting merchant vessels, as well as warships patrolling the vital waterway since mid-October.

The Houthis are a Shia Islamist militia that rose to power following a wave of protests known as the Arab Spring, which swept the Middle East in the early 2010s.

One of the poorest countries in the region, Yemen has been plagued by an intermittent civil war for nearly a decade. It was further devastated by a Saudi-led intervention, which began in 2015 with the aim of expelling the Houthis.

  • 13 January 2024

    00:17 GMT

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  • 00:16 GMT

    US President Joe Biden has defended his decision to strike the Houthis, labeling them “a terrorist group.”

    “We will make sure we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behavior along with our allies,” the president told reporters during a trip to Pennsylvania on Friday. His statement came after some members of Congress accused Biden of not seeking the chamber’s approval for the military action.

    National Security Council spokesman John Kirby earlier told reporters that the White House is “not interested in a war with Yemen.”

  • 12 January 2024

    19:40 GMT

    A tanker reportedly carrying Russian oil was “mistakenly” attacked by the Houthis off the coast of Yemen on Friday, the British naval security company Ambrey has said. The vessel, which was not named, was about 90 nautical miles southeast of Aden when a missile landed about 400 meters away. The ship’s master also spotted three “skiffs” trailing the vessel. According to Ambrey, a public maritime database listed the ship as UK-affiliated, but that information is five months out of date and the tanker is actually registered in Panama.

  • 17:30 GMT

    Former US President Donald Trump has weighed in on the US-UK airstrikes on Houthi militias in Yemen, slamming Joe Biden on his Truth Social platform as “the worst president in the history of the United States.”

    “Now we have wars in Ukraine, Israel, and Yemen, but no ‘war’ on our Southern Border,” Trump said. The former president has previously advocated treating surging immigration at the US border as a “war.”

    He also hit out at US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for “running the war from his laptop in a hospital room,” referring to news this week that Austin had kept his cancer diagnosis from the White House and later ordered dozens of strikes in Yemen from his hospital bed, according to CNN.

  • 16:50 GMT

    Mass protests have broken out in Yemen. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets of the capital Sanaa and several other cities across the country to express their anger after the American and British strikes on their country.

    Your strikes on Yemen are terrorism,” Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council said, addressing the crowd. “The United States is the Devil.


  • 16:09 GMT

    The US-UK strikes had “good effects,” according to Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder, adding that the two nations’ militaries will monitor the situation.

    According to the official, Washington currently has no plans to send additional troops to the region.

    Our initial assessment is that we had good effects,” Ryder told CNN. “We will continue to monitor and as the president and [Defense] Secretary Austin have said, we will continue to take necessary action.

  • 13:19 GMT

    US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered and oversaw the overnight strikes on dozens of Houthi-related targets in Yemen from a hospital bed “with a full suite of secure communications,” CNN has reported, citing an anonymous senior Pentagon official. The American defense chief was hospitalized on January 1 for complications after prostate cancer surgery, keeping President Joe Biden and Congress in the dark about his condition for days.

    Read the full story here.

  • 11:53 GMT

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the US and UK of trying to turn the Red Sea into a “sea of blood” with their disproportionate strikes on Yemen. The Houthi fighters are mounting a “successful defense, response” against those attacks, Erdogan also said, newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

    The Houthis earlier announced that five people were killed and six others wounded in an aerial assault by the two Western nations. Despite the losses, they vowed to continue targeting commercial vessels off Yemen’s coast, which they’ve been doing for more than two months now, in response to the Israeli military operation in Gaza.

  • 11:04 GMT

    The German Foreign Ministry has claimed that the airstrikes on Yemen by the US and UK were “consistent with the UN Charter” and aimed at preventing further attacks by the Houthis against Israeli-bound ships.

    “Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but let our message be clear: we will not hesitate to defend lives and protect the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,” the ministry said in a statement.

  • 10:50 GMT

    Russia condemns the “illegitimate” airstrikes on Yemen by the US and UK, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said. He stressed that the UN Security Council Resolution, which had been adopted on Thursday and called on the Houthis to stop targeting Israeli-linked vessels in the Red Sea, didn’t give Washington and London the right to carry out the attack. Russia abstained during the vote on the document, Peskov reminded reporters.

    The US and UK “tried to bring their actions under an international legal framework, but they failed. From the point of view of the international law, these strikes are illegitimate,” the spokesman stressed.

    As for the Houthi attack on commercial vessels, Moscow “repeatedly called on them to abandon this practice and consider[s] it unlawful,” Peskov said.

    Read the full story here.