US and the UK ‘to carry out airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen


The US and the UK are ready to carry out airstrikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen as early as tonight – after both countries warned there could be consequences if ships are continually targeted in the Red Sea.  

Joint US and British forces shot down 18 drones and three missiles launched by the Houthis late Tuesday, in what was described as their biggest attack so far in solidarity with Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza

Antony Blinken warned of ‘consequences’ if the Houthi do not stop attacking ships in the Red Sea, and called on Iran to end their support for the rebels. 

It comes at a fraught time for the US – as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is reeling from his prostate cancer operation. He has been in hospital for over a week. 

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks has assumed his duties during his absence, but The Pentagon has faced backlash following news that the public, nor President Biden, were informed until days into Austin’s hospital stay.  

The Houthi military helicopter flies over the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea in November. Joint US and British forces shot down 18 drones and three missiles launched by the Houthis late Tuesday, in what was described as their biggest attack so far in solidarity with Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza

The Houthi military helicopter flies over the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea in November. Joint US and British forces shot down 18 drones and three missiles launched by the Houthis late Tuesday, in what was described as their biggest attack so far in solidarity with Palestinians in Hamas-ruled Gaza 

Armed demonstrators take part in a solidarity rally with Gaza in the rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa. Antony Blinken warned of 'consequences' if the rebels do not stop attacking ships in the Red Sea, and called on Iran to end their support for the rebels

Armed demonstrators take part in a solidarity rally with Gaza in the rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa. Antony Blinken warned of ‘consequences’ if the rebels do not stop attacking ships in the Red Sea, and called on Iran to end their support for the rebels

The Houthis, based in Yemen, have been firing rockets, drones and missiles north towards Israel, interrupting Red Sea shipping

The Houthis, based in Yemen, have been firing rockets, drones and missiles north towards Israel, interrupting Red Sea shipping

Sources inside London‘s Whitehall have confirmed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is ready to sign off military reprisals against the Houthis, who have repeatedly attacked merchant shipping in the Red Sea.

The rebels say their assaults are aimed at stopping Israel‘s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But their targets are increasingly random, raising the risk of a US retaliatory strike on Yemen.

The US has set up a multinational naval task force to protect shipping from the attacks, which Blinken on Wednesday said were ‘aided and abetted’ by Iran. 

Pentagon spokesperson Brig Gen Pat Ryder said at a news conference in Washington DC: ‘I’m not going to telegraph, forecast or speculate on any potential future operations.

‘And I think that statement from multiple nations when it comes to the fact that there will be consequences – should the attacks not stop – speaks for itself. 

‘And I’ll just leave it at that.’

Asked about potential US strikes against the Houthis in Yemen, the national security spokesperson, John Kirby, said: ‘I’m not going to telegraph our punches one way or another here. 

‘We’re gonna do what we have to do, to counter and defeat these threats that the Houthis keep throwing up on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.’ 

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on demanding an immediate end to the Houthi attacks. 

Secretary of State Blinken was in Bahrain on Wednesday as part of his week-long tour aimed at working on the Middle East crisis. 

Pentagon spokesperson Brig Gen Pat Ryder said at a news conference in Washington DC: 'I'm not going to telegraph, forecast or speculate on any potential future operations. And I think that statement from multiple nations when it comes to the fact that there will be consequences – should the attacks not stop – speaks for itself. And I'll just leave it at that'

Pentagon spokesperson Brig Gen Pat Ryder said at a news conference in Washington DC: ‘I’m not going to telegraph, forecast or speculate on any potential future operations. And I think that statement from multiple nations when it comes to the fact that there will be consequences – should the attacks not stop – speaks for itself. And I’ll just leave it at that’

Yemenis recently militarily trained by the Houthi movement hold their guns and chant slogans as they take part in an armed popular parade held in Al-Sabeen Square to get ready to go and fight Israel in the Gaza Strip, on December 2

Yemenis recently militarily trained by the Houthi movement hold their guns and chant slogans as they take part in an armed popular parade held in Al-Sabeen Square to get ready to go and fight Israel in the Gaza Strip, on December 2

An armed Houthi fighter walks through the beach with the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the background, seized by the Houthis offshore of the Al-Salif port, on December 5

An armed Houthi fighter walks through the beach with the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the background, seized by the Houthis offshore of the Al-Salif port, on December 5

Houthi fighters open the door of the cockpit on the Galaxy Leader ship's deck in the Red Sea in November

Houthi fighters open the door of the cockpit on the Galaxy Leader ship’s deck in the Red Sea in November

A Yemeni passes a banner depicting the Israeli and US flags on the deck of he Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized by the Houthis offshore of the Al-Salif port on the Red Sea in the province of Hodeidah, Yemen, on December 5

A Yemeni passes a banner depicting the Israeli and US flags on the deck of he Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized by the Houthis offshore of the Al-Salif port on the Red Sea in the province of Hodeidah, Yemen, on December 5

In the UK, Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on Thursday: ‘Be in no doubt at all, Iran is guiding what is happening there in the Red Sea, providing them not just with equipment to carry out those attacks but also often with the eyes and ears to allow those attacks to happen.

‘We must be clear with the Houthis, that this has to stop and that is my simple message to them today, and watch this space.’

In response to the growing tensions, the leader of Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels threatened on Thursday the United States and Britain with even larger attacks in the Red Sea after their navies intercepted a major one.

‘Any American aggression will never go without a response,’ rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi said in speech broadcast live by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah television.

‘The response to any American attack will not only be at the level of the operation that was recently carried out… but it will be greater than that.’

The rebels said Tuesday’s attack was in retaliation for the US Navy’s killing of 10 Houthi fighters on December 31 as they attempted to board a merchant vessel passing through the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen.

Pictured: A F35 jet has maintenance carried out on deck

Pictured: A F35 jet has maintenance carried out on deck

HMS Diamond, a £1billion Type 45 destroyer known as the jewel of the Royal Navy, shot down the targets with a barrage of sea viper missiles - which travel three times the speed of sound

HMS Diamond, a £1billion Type 45 destroyer known as the jewel of the Royal Navy, shot down the targets with a barrage of sea viper missiles – which travel three times the speed of sound 

Personnel onboard HMS Diamond shoot down drones fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels

Personnel onboard HMS Diamond shoot down drones fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels

Personnel onboard HMS Diamond shoot down drones fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels

Personnel onboard HMS Diamond shoot down drones fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels

The Houthis have carried out a growing number of attacks on shipping since the Gaza war erupted with Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution that demanded the Houthis ‘immediately cease’ their attacks.

The Houthi campaign, which the rebels say only targets vessels linked to Israel or its allies, has caused major disruption with many shipping firms opting for a much longer route around the tip of Africa for security concerns.

Washington says more than 20 nations have joined the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect the vital sea lane which usually carries about 12 percent of maritime trade.

Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, is seen on Wednesday on board his plane during his week-long Middle East trip

Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, is seen on Wednesday on board his plane during his week-long Middle East trip

The Houthi leader said that ‘there is no problem for the Europeans, China and the whole world to pass through the Red Sea.’

‘The only and exclusive target are ships linked to Israel.’

But he added that any government that joins the military action against the rebels’ naval forces would face reprisals.

‘Whoever wants to get involved, attack our dear people and target the naval forces is actually risking their fleet and commercial ships,’ Houthi warned.

‘We hope that the rest of the Arab and Islamic countries will never get involved with the Americans, the Israelis and the British.’

Vessels passing Yemen have come under frequent assault from Houthi rebels since Israel launched its offensive in Gaza following the October 7 terror attack by the Hamas group.

Shipping companies have responded by rerouting their vessels around South Africa to avoid the risk posed in the strait at a cost of $1,020,020 per boat.



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