The United States and Britain launched military strikes against targets in Houthi-controlled Yemen, two U.S. officials said Thursday.
They targeted multiple locations with fighter jets and Tomahawks fired from Navy ships.
A Houthi leader confirmed that Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, had been targeted.
“A brutal aggression against our country, for which they will pay absolutely,” Nasr Aldeen Amer, vice president of the Houthi Media Authority, said Thursday. “Without hesitation, and we will not back down from our position in supporting the Palestinian people, whatever the cost.”
The strikes came after U.S. Central Command said earlier Thursday that the Iranian-backed Houthis had fired anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden.
No injuries or damage were reported, and a commercial vessel reported seeing the missile strike the water, the statement said. The attack marked the group’s 27th on international shipping since Nov. 19, Central Command said.
The Houthis, from Yemen’s northwestern Saada province, rose to power as Arab Spring protests swept the region in 2011.
Three years later — with support from Tehran — the Houthis took control of the country’s capital, prompting a wider conflict with Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, and a situation in Yemen that the United Nations described as the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
Although the United States, Britain and several other nations backed the Saudi-led war, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wound down the military operation last year and entered peace talks with the Houthis.
After Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, the Houthis pledged support for the Palestinian militants and began attacking vessels in the Red Sea — despite demands from the United States, France and other Western allies to halt the missile and drone attacks.
A spokesman for the Houthis has said they were only targeting ships with links to Israel — a claim that has been widely disputed — in an effort to pressure Israel into halting its war in Gaza.
In response, the United States and other countries dispatched warships to patrol the vital shipping corridor. U.S. helicopters fired on Houthis last week after they attacked a cargo ship.
During a visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the group would face “consequences” if the attacks continued but his “strong preference” was for the group to “get the message.”