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U.S., Britain conduct airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi targets

In this photo provided by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, taken from the bridge of HMS Diamond, Sea Viper missiles are fired in the Red Sea. UK Ministry of Defence via The Associated Press

U.S., Britain conduct airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi targets

U.S. officials said the large-scale retaliatory strikes used fighter jets and Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Houthi-controlled Yemen. The joint airstrikes were an attempt to reduce the Houthis’ ability to continue their recent attacks on Red Sea shipping lanes. A Houthi military spokesman said Friday that dozens of strikes had killed five of the group's fighters and wounded six others.

What prompted the joint airstrike? Since November, Houthi rebels have attacked merchant vessels in the Red Sea. Last week, the United States issued a joint statement with 13 other countries warning the rebels to cease their attacks or “bear the responsibilities of the consequences” of their actions. But the Houthis have largely ignored the ultimatum, on Wednesday launching what the British defense secretary called the rebels’ largest attack ever against shipping vessels in the region. During that attack, U.S. and British naval forces shot down 21 missiles and drones fired by Houthi rebels, with no damage or injuries reported by any of the intended targets.

Dig deeper: Listen to Myrna Brown’s interview with Benham Ben Taleblu on The World and Everything in It podcast about attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Travis K. Kircher

Travis is the associate breaking news editor for WORLD.

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