Houthi leader condemns 'reckless' US and British strikes as Yemeni group's sites are hit

US says it conducted self-defence strikes against Houthi underground installations

A helicopter takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower, during operations in the southern Red Sea, on Wednesday. Bloomberg
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The Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saturday criticised attacks by US and UK forces on sites controlled by the group.

Muhammad Ali Al Houthi, head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, described the strikes as "reckless".

The American-British attacks aim to break a naval blockade of ships linked to Israel, which is besieging Gaza, he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The US military carried out what it said were self-defence strikes against three Houthi underground storage sites in rebels-controlled areas of Yemen on Friday.

"These strikes targeted capabilities used by the Houthis to threaten and attack naval ships and merchant vessels in the region," the US Central Command said on Saturday.

"These weapons storage facilities presented a threat to US and coalition forces and merchant vessels in the region" it added.

Centcom said that its forces also destroyed four drones in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, adding that Houthis fired four anti-ship ballistic missiles towards the Red Sea.

No injuries or damage were reported by US ships, coalition forces, or commercial vessels.

Attacks by Yemen's Houthis in the Red Sea region, which the Iran-aligned militants say are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to take longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The Houthis have kept up their campaign of attacks despite two months of US-led air strikes.

Strikes and explosions were seen and heard in Sanaa on Friday night, according to witnesses and videos circulating on social media.

Footage showed explosions and smoke rising over the Houthi-controlled capital.

There was no official confirmation of the injured or the origin of the explosions. Yemeni TV station Al Masirah, which is linked to the Houthis, reported strikes hitting the city.

Meanwhile, a vote at the UN Security Council on a new text calling for an "immediate" ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war was postponed to Monday, diplomatic sources confirmed, after a separate, US-lead draft resolution which supported “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza was vetoed on Friday by Russia and China.

The new resolution, put forward by the 10 elected council members, is backed by the two countries.

The US has vetoed three resolutions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, the most recent an Arab-backed measure. That measure was supported by 13 members with one abstention in a Feb. 20 vote.

Russia and China vetoed a US-sponsored resolution in late October calling for pauses in the fighting to deliver aid, the protection of civilians and a halt to arming Hamas. They said it did not reflect global calls for a ceasefire.

The Gaza war began after Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking about 240 others hostage.

Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. More than 32,000 people, mostly Palestinian civilians, have died in Israel's retaliatory campaign, according to the Gaza health ministry, and the UN has warned of imminent famine in the territory.

Updated: March 23, 2024, 7:24 AM