U.S. Carries Out Further Retaliatory Airstrike Against Houthi Militants Backed by Iran in Yemen

The United States conducted a retaliatory airstrike against Houthi militants in Yemen on Friday, following previous airstrikes on Thursday, according to a U.S. official.

It is uncertain whether Friday’s airstrike aimed to further reduce the Houthi rebels’ ability to target commercial ships in the Red Sea or was a direct response to the earlier launch of an anti-ship projectile in the Gulf of Aden, which landed harmlessly in the water.

On Thursday night, the U.S. targeted 28 Houthi locations in Yemen associated with 27 drone and missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The strikes involved Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by U.S. Navy destroyers, British warplanes, and U.S. Navy fighter aircraft from the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier.

Following Thursday’s strikes, Houthi officials vowed retaliation against the U.S.

President Joe Biden, speaking with reporters on Friday, described the strikes as a “success” and reiterated the U.S. commitment to respond if the Houthis continue their “outrageous behavior.” In a Thursday statement, Biden warned of additional measures to protect people and international commerce.

U.S. officials on Friday mentioned ongoing assessments of Thursday’s strike but expressed the belief that the Houthis’ capability for large-scale attacks had been reduced. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of the Joint Staff, stated that the strikes had degraded the Houthis’ ability to launch a major attack similar to Tuesday’s barrage of 21 missiles and drones.

While expressing hope for no retaliation, Sims emphasized the readiness to respond if necessary, highlighting the potential harm to the region and its partners. He urged the Houthis to recognize the futility of retaliation.

Regarding civilian casualties, Sims anticipated limited impact due to the rural locations targeted, primarily missile launchers in mountainous or sparsely populated areas. He clarified that the primary focus was on degrading capability rather than causing casualties, aiming to enhance international freedom of navigation in the waters where the strikes occurred.

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