Houthi Red Sea attacks 'must stop,' UK says

Top diplomat said the latest strikes by the US & UK on Houthi targets followed "repeated warnings" to the Iran-backed group. Houthis said the strikes would not go "without response and punishment"

David Cameron said the Houthi rebels were 'destabilising the region' (photo: DW)
David Cameron said the Houthi rebels were 'destabilising the region' (photo: DW)
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DW

The latest airstrikes by the UK and the US against Houthi military targets in Yemen came after "repeated warnings" to the Iran-backed militant group, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Sunday.

The strikes, which were carried out late Saturday, hit buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers and other capabilities the Houthis have used to attack Red Sea shipping, the Pentagon said.

What did Cameron say?

Confirming the strikes in a social media post on Sunday, Cameron stressed that the "Houthi attacks must stop."

"Their reckless actions are putting innocent lives at risk, threatening the freedom of navigation and destabilizing the region," he added.

Since November, the Houthis have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea. They say their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians amid Israel's ongoing military offensive in Gaza.

The Israeli operation began following deadly raids by Hamas militants on October 7 in southern Israel, in which some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed, and some 240 others kidnapped.

Houthis vow to respond to strikes

The Houthis have condemned the latest round of airstrikes.

"These attacks will not deter us from our [...] stance in support of the steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree warned in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The latest strikes "will not pass without response and punishment," he added.

Concerns over critical shipping route

Iran also denounced the airstrikes, saying they "contradict" Washington's and London's declared intentions to avoid a "wider conflict" in the region.

But Cameron argued Tehran was ultimately responsible for the violence. The Sunday Times quoted him as saying: "What they're doing through their proxies is unacceptable."

"You created them, you backed them, you financed them, you provided them with weapons, and you will ultimately be held accountable for what they do," Cameron said.

The Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea have imperiled shipping through the Suez Canal, a key route for global trade and energy shipments. Ships have been forced to take a longer, more costly route around southern Africa via the Cape of Good Hope.

The US, the UK and their allies vowed after the strikes to "continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world's most critical waterways."

Other coalition partners include Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

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Published: 05 Feb 2024, 8:22 AM
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