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Yemen’s Houthis vow ‘strong response’ after new US strike

Members of Houthi military forces parade in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, Yemen September 1, 2022. (REUTERS)
Members of Houthi military forces parade in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, Yemen September 1, 2022. (REUTERS)
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14 Jan 2024 01:01:53 GMT9
14 Jan 2024 01:01:53 GMT9
  • UN envoy urges restraint, warns situation becoming ‘increasingly precarious’

Saeed Al-Batati

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have threatened a “strong and effective response” after the US carried out another strike in the country, ratcheting up tensions as Washington vows to protect shipping from attacks by the group.

The latest strike, which the US said hit a radar site, came a day after dozens of American and British attacks on Houthi facilities in Yemen.

“This new strike will have a firm, strong and effective response,” Houthi spokesperson Nasruldeen Amer said, adding there had been no injuries nor “material damage.”

Mohammed Abdulsalam, another Houthi spokesperson, said the strikes, including the one that hit a military base in Sanaa, had had no significant impact on the group’s ability to prevent Israel-affiliated vessels from passing through the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

Hans Grundberg, UN special envoy for Yemen, urged maximum restraint by “all involved” in Yemen and warned of an increasingly precarious situation in the region.

Grundberg said that the UN-brokered peace effort that resulted in Yemeni parties agreeing to support a road map for peace was at risk of being undermined due to the latest escalation in tension in the Red Sea.

Further actions might aggravate Yemen’s already difficult situation, undermine maritime trade route security, and lead to increased tension in the region, he warned.

His office said that Grundberg “notes with serious concern the increasingly precarious regional context and its adverse impact on peace efforts in Yemen and stability and security in the region.”

International mediators are concerned that the US attacks on Houthi-held regions will prompt the Yemeni militia to abandon UN-brokered peace talks and begin armed operations throughout the country.

The US Central Command said on Saturday that the USS Carney navy destroyer fired Tomahawk land attack missiles at a Houthi radar location in Yemen at 3:45 a.m. on Jan. 13, without naming the targeted site, adding that the latest and previous strikes on Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen were intended to impact on the militia’s military power and prevent it from threatening maritime navigation traffic.

The Houthis said that Saturday’s strikes hit Al-Dailami airbase north of Sanaa.

The Houthis said the attacks on Yemen would not “go unpunished,” branding the attacks as a “blatant aggression” designed to force the group to abandon its support for the Palestinian people.

The US and UK militaries launched dozens of strikes on more than 60 targets in Sanaa, Hodeidah, Taiz, Saada, Hajjah, and Dhamar on Friday, striking “command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities and air defense radar systems” in retaliation for the Houthi missile and drone attacks on commercial and navy ships in the Red Sea.

The Houthis accuse the US of attempting to force the militia into ceasing its assaults against Israeli-linked ships or ships bound for Israel, actions which are intended to persuade Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza.

President Joe Biden said the US had delivered a private message to Iran about the Houthis.

“We delivered it privately and we’re confident we’re well-prepared,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

Separately, Yemen’s legitimate government said that two of its soldiers were killed in fighting with the Houthis in the western province of Hodeidah.

The Houthis on Friday shelled the Yemeni government’s forces in Hodeidah’s Hays district before attacking, triggering heavy clashes that left two government soldiers and a number of Houthis dead.

Hostilities across Yemen’s battlefields have largely subsided since the UN-brokered truce came into effect in April 2022.

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