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US, UK walk the talk as missiles hit Houthi sites


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US officials said warship- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets were used to hit Houthi targets deep inside Yemen. NEW DELHI: The US and the UK on Friday launched their first military response to Yemen-based Houthi rebels’ persistent drone and missile attacks on commercial ships passing through the Red Sea, striking over 60 targets at 16 sites of the Iran-backed militant group.  US officials said warship- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets were used to hit Houthi targets deep inside Yemen. While both the US and the UK claimed the massive strike crippled Houthis’ ability to threaten ships, the battle-hardened militant group vowed to avenge the attack on their assets.

They said five of their fighters were killed and six others injured in the strikes. According to a post-strike assessment by the US Air Force’s Mideast command, the rebels’ command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defence radar systems were destroyed in the strikes. US President Joe Biden said the strikes were meant as a message to the rebels to stop disrupting trade, while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said they were in self defence. Meanwhile, oil prices surged over fears that the regional conflict may escalate to become a much wider conflict. Brent futures were up 4% at $80.52 a barrel on Friday, while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 4.1% to $74.99.

The Houthis have launched 27 attacks on commercial vessels passing through the Red Sea since mid-November. The US had issued multiple warnings over several days before it retaliated on Friday.  Blinken, Jaishankar discuss situation Hours before strike began, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken dialled India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to gave him a heads-up about the impending strike. The two “discussed the US’s and India’s shared concerns over the reckless Houthi attacks in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” the US State Dept said in a statement (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)