US, UK strike Yemen's Houthis, group hits American oil tanker

In this image released by the US Central Command, a US fighter plane launches from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower in the Red Sea during strikes against Houthi targets. (Photo/AFP)

American and British forces carried out a fresh wave of strikes against 18 Houthi targets in Yemen, a joint statement said, and the group responds by targeting a US oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.

The group's military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech early on Sunday that they attacked MV Torm Thor, a US-flagged, owned, and operated oil tanker. The Houthis say they have been attacking shipping lanes in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Israeli war on Gaza.

The US and UK strikes "specifically targeted 18 Houthi targets across eight locations in Yemen associated with Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defence systems, radars, and a helicopter," said the joint statement.

The statement was co-signed by Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand, who gave unspecified "support" to the new round of strikes, the second this month and fourth since the group began their attacks on ships in the region.

"The Houthis' now more than 45 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November constitute a threat to the global economy, as well as regional security and stability, and demand an international response," the statement said.

Unilateral strikes

Saturday's operation comes after several merchant vessels were struck this week in the region, including the fertiliser-filled Rubymar, whose crew had to abandon ship after it was hit Sunday and began taking on water.

Apart from the joint attacks with Britain, the United States has also carried out repeated unilateral strikes against Houthi positions and weaponry in Yemen, claiming self-defence, and has downed air and sea-borne drones in the Red Sea.

"The United States will not hesitate to take action, as needed, to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world's most critical waterways," Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said in a separate statement after the strikes.

"We will continue to make clear to the Houthis that they will bear the consequences if they do not stop their illegal attacks, which harm Middle Eastern economies, cause environmental damage, and disrupt the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen and other countries."

Following previous US and UK strikes, the Houthis declared American and British interests to be legitimate targets as well.


Source: TRT