• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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U.S. strikes Yemen, tension likely to escalate

US strike Yemen (1)

The United States conducted an additional strike against Yemen’s Houthi forces on Friday, following President Joe Biden’s commitment to safeguard shipping in the Red Sea.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), the U.S. Central Command reported that the guided missile destroyer Carney used Tomahawk missiles in the strike to “degrade the Houthis’ ability to attack maritime vessels.”

Al-Masirah, the Houthi movement’s TV channel, claimed that the U.S. and Britain targeted the Yemeni capital Sanaa with raids. President Biden warned of potential further strikes if Houthi attacks on merchant and military vessels persist, stating, “We will make sure that we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behavior.”

The initial U.S.-British assault aimed at reducing the Houthis’ capacity to launch missile and drone attacks. The Pentagon reported hitting 60 targets in 28 sites.

Despite Houthi leaders pledging retaliation, the U.S. military claimed success in diminishing the group’s ability to launch fresh attacks. The UK Maritime Trade Operations received reports of a missile landing near a ship southeast of the Yemeni port of Aden, identified as a Panama-flagged tanker carrying Russian oil.

Houthi representatives denounced the strikes, with Mohammed Ali al-Houthi stating, “Your strikes on Yemen are terrorism,” while President Biden, asked about the term “terrorist” for the group, responded, “I think they are.”

The Red Sea crisis is viewed as a regional spillover from Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, defended the Yemen strikes at the Security Council, emphasizing their intent to disrupt Houthi attacks on vessels.

The strikes raised concerns about oil supply disruptions, causing a temporary rise in Brent crude oil prices. Commercial ship-tracking data revealed at least nine oil tankers altering their routes in the Red Sea.

The escalation prompted responses from various countries, with some providing support and others expressing concerns about wider conflict. A senior U.S. official accused Tehran of aiding the Yemeni group, but Iran condemned the strikes without indicating a desire for direct conflict.

Houthi attacks have already led to disruptions in shipping routes, contributing to fears of inflation and supply chain disruptions globally. Container shipping rates for key global routes surged in response to the increased tensions.