The U.S. and the U.K. conducted retaliatory airstrikes Thursday evening against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen following a cascade of attacks on commercial shipping, Reuters reported, citing four U.S. officials.

The Houthis had launched at least 27 drone and missile attacks against commercial vessels near the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the U.S. military said Thursday, operations that the clan says were in opposition to Israel’s war with the Hamas terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip.


The U.S.-U.K. strikes, which occurred early Friday morning in Yemen, are the first time the U.S. has conducted deliberate strikes against targets linked to the Houthis since the group began attacking international shipping in late 2023, according to Reuters.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was preparing earlier to authorize strikes on the Houthis following a meeting with the National Security Council and briefings with Parliament, according to The Financial Times. The Pentagon already had drawn up potential targets, U.S. officials told the outlet.

Western diplomats had discussed the possibility of strikes with maritime CEOs, The Wall Street Journal reported. Targets could include launch sites for missiles and drones, radars, weapons depots, and infrastructure in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, the executives said.

Houthi forces had bunkered down and taken steps to conceal sensitive assets in anticipation of strikes, U.S. officials said, according to the Journal.

Earlier Thursday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi threatened to retaliate if the clan were to be struck by the U.S., the BBC reported.

“Any American attack will not remain without a response. The response will be greater than the attack that was carried out with 20 drones and a number of missiles,” he said in a televised address, referring to a Wednesday attack local time that was the largest since the group began targeting commercial ships in October.

The U.K. operates a destroyer in the Red Sea and is participating in a U.S.-led coalition, Operation Prosperity Guardian, aimed at deterring strikes and reassuring international shipping of the vessels’ safety.

The Pentagon had declined to comment earlier Thursday on rumored plans of strikes on the Houthis.

After Wednesday’s missile and drone barrage, U.S. Central Command reiterated a Jan. 3 warning from the U.S. and partners against further Houthi attacks. Experts said the repeated threat signaled the Pentagon was rapidly losing patience with the Houthis’ continued attacks.

“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 press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a press briefing Thursday afternoon.

Major shipping companies continue to avoid Red Sea transit routes. The Houthis over the weekend appeared to target a U.S. guided-missile destroyer in the region as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian.

U.S. military assets in the Red Sea include 130 aircraft and the warships assigned to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, carrying about 4,000 sailors and Marines, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said at a Jan. 3 briefing.

This report originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

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