US and UK intensify military engagement in Yemen, targeting Houthi rebels

On the night of January 17 to 18, 2024, the United States Armed Forces and the United Kingdom Royal Armed Forces, alongside the International Coalition, launched a significant wave of air and naval strikes against Houthi/Ansarallah rebel-controlled areas in North and Western Yemen. These strikes were primarily executed using Tomahawk missiles launched by the US Navy and UK Royal Navy.

The strikes targeted multiple locations in Yemen, including missile sites controlled by the Houthi forces. Notably, the operations included attacks in five provinces, with Hodeidah, the primary port on the Red Sea coast under Houthi control, being one of the key areas affected.

This recent military action is a continuation of the ongoing conflict involving the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis have escalated their activities in the Red Sea, especially since the Israel-Hamas conflict that began on October 7, 2023. Their actions have included attacks on commercial shipping and military vessels, prompting the US and UK response.

For instance, in retaliation for the US and UK’s military involvement, the Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile strike on the US ship ‘Ginko Picardie’ in the Gulf of Aden on the night of January 17. The US Central Command confirmed the attack, stating the ship incurred minor damage but remained seaworthy and continued its voyage.

These developments are part of a complex and evolving situation in Yemen, which has seen the Houthis controlling significant territories, including the capital Sanaa and the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, since they ousted the internationally recognized Yemeni government in 2014.

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