US, UK air strikes pound Yemen after weeks of Red Sea attacks

Heavy U.S. and British air strikes pounded targets in rebel-held Yemen early on Friday after weeks of disruptive attacks on Red Sea shipping by Iran-backed Huthi forces.

The strikes targeted an airbase, airports and a military camp, the Huthi rebels' Al-Masirah TV station said.

"Our country was subjected to a massive aggressive attack by American and British ships, submarines and warplanes," Huthi Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Al-Ezzi said, according to official rebel media.

"America and Britain will have to prepare to pay a heavy price and bear all the dire consequences of this blatant aggression," he added.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the U.S. and British strikes a "defensive action" after the Red Sea attacks, and said he "will not hesitate" to order further military action if needed.

The strikes involved fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles, several U.S. media outlets said.

"Today, at my direction, U.S. military forces — together with the United Kingdom and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands — successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world's most vital waterways," Biden said in a statement, using an alternate spelling of Huthi.

He called the strikes a "direct response" to "unprecedented" attacks by the Huthis, "including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history".

"I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary."

 Saudi's 'great concern' 

The strikes were "necessary and proportionate", U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.


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