The U.S. and U.K. launched airstrikes Saturday targeting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in response to the group’s continued attacks in the Red Sea, the countries confirmed in a joint statement.
The U.S. and U.K. struck at least 30 targets in at least 13 locations in Yemen using missiles launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower,
More than two dozen aircrafts were launched off the ship as well, a U.S. official said, some carrying 2,000-pound bombs, sidewinder air to air missiles and other precision guided missiles.
It is not immediately clear if anyone was killed or wounded in the strikes.
“Our military operations against the Zionist entity will continue until the aggression against Gaza stops, no matter what sacrifices it costs us,” Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti , member of the Houthi’s Ansarallah political bureau, said about the attacks. “We will meet escalation with escalation, and victory comes only from God.”
Saturday’s strikes follow Friday’s attack of 85 sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian forces and the Iran-backed militants, which was the States’ first retaliatory response for the killing of three American soldiers in Jordan last weekend, U.S. officials said.
“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday. “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”
Biden’s administration has clearly said that the U.S. would enact a military response after the drone attack operated by Iran-backed militants at a remote U.S. base in Jordan, which killed three and wounded more than 40 others.
Iran has denied involvement in that drone attack adding that it does not see a war with the U.S., but vowed it will respond to any threats from the U.S.
Prior to any of the strikes carried out by the U.S., Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said there would be a “multitier response.” Biden settled on a plan that would take days, possibly weeks, to carry out, officials told NBC News.
It’s an uptick in pressure from Washington in the Middle East in an effort to curb attacks from these Iran-backed militants and to prevent the spread of an all-out war across the entire region.
Even after the first day of strikes on Friday, Biden and Austin maintained that the U.S. has no interest in beginning a war with Iran or widening the already growing Middle Eastern conflict.
“We will continue to work to avoid a wider conflict in a region, but we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests and our people,” Austin told reporters at a Pentagon news conference Thursday.
He repeated similar sentiments on Friday, adding in remarks that “the president and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces.”