US carries out second strike against Houthis in Yemen

Central Command confirms attack was aimed at a radar station used by the rebel group

The US military last month launched an international task force, Operation Prosperity Guardian, to patrol the Red Sea. Reuters
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The US military struck at the Houthis in Yemen on Friday, a day after it sent a wave of attacks on military sites used by the Iran-backed group,.

US Central Command said in a statement posted on X that its strike was aimed at a radar station used by the rebel group.

It said the raid was "designed to degrade the Houthi's ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels".

The Houthis, who control large parts of Yemen, have been threatening maritime security in the Red Sea in response to Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

The group said it would strike Israeli ships or any vessel travelling to Israeli ports, although many of its targets have had no connection to the country.

One American official told CNN that the latest strike was carried out by the US alone, in contrast to the previous strike that was conducted alongside the UK, with support from other nations.

Yemenis are worried about what is to come, especially after the Houthis have threatened retaliation for the strikes.

"I am very afraid and my optimism for peace is almost non-existent," Sara Haig, 36, a lab worker, told The National from Al Hodeidah.

Ms Haig said she has not gone to work for two days and fears "the worse is yet to come".

Mariam Ahmad, 28, a housewife, is more hopeful. She said it would be "madness" for another war to break out in Yemen.

"Nine years of war and destruction have passed [in Yemen] ... I believe the crisis will calm down, but slowly."

The US launch strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

The US launch strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

The US military last month launched an international task force, Operation Prosperity Guardian, to patrol the Red Sea.

But many shipping companies have rerouted vessels around southern Africa to avoid the security risk posed by the Houthis.

The Centcom statement said the strike had "no association with and are separate from Operation Prosperity Guardian, a defensive coalition of over 20 countries operating in the Red Sea, Bab Al Mandeb strait, and Gulf of Aden".

US President Joe Biden earlier on Friday said the US “will make sure we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behaviour”.

Thursday's strikes, aimed at “disrupting and degrading” the group's ability to affect global trade in the vital waterway, were carried out in co-ordination with the UK and involved “non-operational support” from other countries.

UK officials said their military action on Thursday was a one-off, with no more strikes to come.

The latest strike comes after the White House asserted it does not want to start a war with the Houthis.

“We're not interested in a war with Yemen. We're not interested in a conflict of any kind here,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists on Friday.

“In fact, everything the President has been doing has been trying to prevent any escalation of conflict, including the strikes last night.”

Updated: January 17, 2024, 11:40 PM