US conducts fresh airstrikes on Houthis in Yemen, UN chief urges adherence to international law

Just a day after launching a coordinated multi-nation attack with the UK on nearly 30 Houthi positions in Yemen, the US carried out fresh airstrikes against the Iran-backed militants

We will make sure we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behaviour along with our allies: US President Joe Biden  (photo: National Herald archives)
We will make sure we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behaviour along with our allies: US President Joe Biden (photo: National Herald archives)
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Just a day after launching a coordinated multi-nation attack on nearly 30 Houthi positions in Yemen, the US on Saturday carried out fresh airstrikes against the Iran-backed militia in the war-torn nation. According to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), the new strikes were carried out at about 3.45 am on Saturday.

"This strike was conducted by the USS Carney (DDG 64) using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles and was a follow-on action on a specific military target associated with strikes taken on January 12 designed to degrade the Houthi’s ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels," it said in a post on X.

The Central Command said that since November 19, 2023, the Houthi militants have attempted to "attack and harass" vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at least 28 times.

"These illegal incidents include attacks that have employed anti-ship ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles," it said.

The CENTCOM also clarified that these strikes have no association with and are separate from Operation Prosperity Guardian, a defensive coalition of over 20 countries operating in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden.

On Friday, 12 January the US and UK struck 28 separate Houthi sites in an attempt to disrupt their ability to fire upon international shipping lanes in the Red Sea, reports CNN. The two countries were also backed by Canada, Australia, Bahrain, and the Netherlands.

The US had threatened the possibility of additional military action if the Houthis continued to launch drone and missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

“We will make sure we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behaviour, along with our allies,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday in Pennsylvania. But after the US-led strikes, the Iran-backed rebel group launched another anti-ship ballistic missile towards a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen.

Saturday's strikes also come after the White House said it was trying to avoid an escalation. “Everything we're doing, everything we're trying to do is to prevent any further escalation,” John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, told CNN on Friday.

Friday's strikes targeted radar facilities and command and control nodes, as well as facilities used for the storage and launch of drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. The attacks killed five people and wounded six more, CNN quoted a spokesman for the Houthi military as saying.

The Houthis vowed that their forces would respond to the attack, calling US and UK assets “legitimate targets”. The militia control much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa and the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The Houthis said they only attack those Israel-linked or Israel-bound ships to press Israel to stop its conflict on the Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip.


Earlier, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged all parties involved to adhere to UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2722 amid rising maritime threats.

In a statement on Friday, the UN chief expressed deep concern over attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, stating, "Attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area are not acceptable as they endanger the safety and security of global supply chains and negatively impact the economic and humanitarian situation worldwide."

He reiterated the UNSC's demand from resolution 2722 for the Houthis to "immediately cease all such attacks", underscoring the necessity of full compliance with the resolution, Xinhua news agency reported.

He also called on all member states defending their vessels from attacks to ensure their actions align with international law, as outlined in the resolution, and urged all parties involved to refrain from escalating the situation, prioritising peace and stability in the Red Sea and the broader region, including Yemen.

The UNSC adopted resolution 2722 on 10 January to strongly condemn attacks by Houthi militia on merchant and commercial vessels in the Red Sea since 19 November 2023, when they attacked and seized the Galaxy Leader and its crew.

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