U.S. Launches 4th Round Of Strikes Against Houthi-Controlled Areas

The U.S. military has conducted a fourth series of missile strikes in a week against Houthi-controlled locations in Yemen. According to the U.S. Central Command, the strikes originated in the Red Sea and were directed towards more than a dozen places, including Hodeidah, Taiz, Dhamar, al Bayda, and Saada. The incident comes after a Houthi drone attack on an American-owned vessel in the Gulf of Aden. There is still no proof to support the claim made by the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency that U.K. planes participated in the strikes.

According to the U.S. military, the operations were carried out in reaction to the approaching danger posed by 14 Houthi missiles that were ready to be launched from Yemen. It was determined that these missiles posed a threat to nearby commercial vessels and U.S. Navy ships. The Houthis have persisted in their efforts to target military and commercial ships, which has led to an increase in the situation in recent weeks. Along with redefining the Houthis as “specially designated global terrorists,” the United States has also imposed penalties to cut off their financial support.

Image Credits: Screengrab from A.P. video on YouTube

The Houthis continue to cause disruptions in Yemen despite these measures and extensive military operations by U.S. and U.K. forces that target more than 60 locations. The Houthis are using the situation to target ships from more than 50 countries worldwide, according to the Pentagon, which reaffirmed its determination to use military force to stop more attacks.

Following the attacks, U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron stated that sanctions and other measures should be investigated to hold those accountable for the disruptions in the Red Sea. Houthi commanders have threatened to declare war if the United States or the United Kingdom imposed sanctions, linking their attacks on shipping to what they see as “Israeli aggression” in Gaza.

Humanitarian organisations in Yemen are deeply concerned about the impact of the worsening conflict on the already critical humanitarian situation. Over 75% of Yemenis rely on help to survive, and the interruption of trade is driving up costs and delaying the delivery of necessities.

The U.S. official made it clear that strong humanitarian exclusions are being examined and that the terrorist categorisation is not meant to harm Yemeni citizens. If attacks on commercial vessels stop, the designation might be removed, suggesting a potential diplomatic off-ramp.

Reference: AP, The Guardian

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