DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen's Houthi rebels on Friday vowed violent retaliation American and British strikes against themWhich increases the possibility of a broader conflict erupting in a region already suffering from the war waged by Israel in Gaza.
Bombardment – launched in response to the latter Drone campaign and missile attacks The Houthis said commercial ships in the vital Red Sea – killing at least five people and wounding six. The United States said that the strikes targeted more than 60 targets in 16 different locations in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.
As the bombing lit up the dawn sky over multiple locations controlled by Iran-backed rebels, it forced the world to focus back on Yemen's years-long war, which began when the Houthis seized the country's capital.
Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea, saying they are taking revenge The Israeli attack on Gaza against Hamas. But they have often targeted ships with fragile or unclear links to Israel, endangering shipping on a major route for global trade and energy shipments.
Although the Biden administration and its allies tried to do so Calming tensions in the Middle East For weeks and preventing any broader conflict, the strikes threatened to ignite another conflict.
Saudi Arabia – which supports the government in exile that the Houthis are fighting – quickly sought to distance itself from the attacks as it sought to maintain a delicate détente with Iran and a ceasefire in Yemen.
The Houthi military spokesman, Brig. Brigadier General Yahya Sarie said, in a recorded speech, that the strikes “will not go unanswered or unpunished.”
He added that the strikes on the Yemeni areas under their control resulted in the death of five and the wounding of six rebel military forces. The extent of the damage remains unclear, although the Houthis said at least five sites, including airports, were attacked.
The US Air Forces Central Command said the strikes focused on Houthi command and control centers, ammunition depots, launch systems, production facilities and air defense radar systems. The strikes included more than 100 precision-guided munitions, including air-launched missiles and Tomahawk land-attack missiles from ships and submarines.
The UK said the strikes hit a site in Beni allegedly used by the Houthis to launch drones and an airport in Abs used to launch cruise missiles and drones.
Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department announced on Friday that it had imposed sanctions on two companies in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for allegedly shipping Iranian goods on behalf of Iran-based Houthi financial facilitator Saeed al-Jamal. Four ships owned by the companies were also identified as prohibited property.
Hussein Al-Ezzi, a Houthi official in their Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “America and Britain will undoubtedly have to prepare to pay a heavy price and bear all the dire consequences of this blatant aggression.”
The Red Sea Route is a critical waterway, and attacks there have caused severe disruptions to global trade. The price of benchmark Brent crude rose 4% on Friday to more than $80 a barrel. Meanwhile, Tesla said it would do so Pause Most production at its German factory due to attacks in the Red Sea.
Meanwhile, the US Navy acknowledged an attack days ago on a ship in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean – an attack that may indicate Iran is preparing to strike ships as part of a broader naval campaign over the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Tehran on Thursday separately Another tanker was seized.
In Saada, the Houthi stronghold in northwest Yemen, hundreds gathered in a march on Friday to denounce the United States and Israel. Another attracted thousands in the capital, Sanaa.
Yemen has been subjected to American military operations during the last four American presidencies. A campaign of drone strikes began under President George W. Bush to target the local branch of Al Qaeda, attacks that have continued under the Biden administration. Meanwhile, the United States launched raids and other military operations amid the ongoing war in Yemen.
That war began when the Houthis overran Sanaa in 2014. A Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates launched a war in support of the exiled Yemeni government in 2015, and the conflict quickly turned into a regional confrontation as Iran supported the Houthis with weapons and other weapons. supports.
But that war has slowed as the Houthis continue to seize the territory they control. In March, Saudi Arabia reached a Chinese-brokered agreement to resume relations with Iran in the hope of eventually withdrawing from the war.
However, a comprehensive agreement has yet to be reached, likely prompting Saudi Arabia's expression on Friday of “grave concern” about the airstrikes.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, “While the Kingdom stresses the importance of maintaining the security and stability of the Red Sea region… it calls for restraint and avoiding escalation.”
Iran condemned the attack in a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani.
He added, “Arbitrary attacks will have no result other than fueling insecurity and instability in the region.”
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning called on countries not to escalate tensions in the Red Sea. On Friday, Russia denounced the strikes, describing them as “illegitimate from the point of view of international law.”
Oman, which has long been a US and Western regional interlocutor with Iran, condemned the air strikes. She described the attack as “a great concern at a time when Israel continues its brutal war and siege of the Gaza Strip without accountability or punishment.”
Meanwhile, the US Navy confirmed on Friday that an attack had occurred a few days ago near the coasts of India and Sri Lanka. The chemical tanker Pacific Gold was hit on January 4 by what the Navy described as a “unidirectional Iranian drone attack,” causing some damage to the ship but no casualties.
Pacific Gold is managed by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, a company ultimately controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. Iran itself did not admit to carrying out the attack.
Associated Press writers Bassem Mroueh in Beirut, Jill Lawless in London, Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and Tara Cobb and Fatemeh Hussein in Washington contributed to this report.
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