U.S. and UK forces have launched more strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday; a day after the U.S. hit Iraq and Syria with planned strikes on 85 targets late Friday — those Friday targets hit in a "multi-tiered" response to a fatal drone attack that killed three U.S. military service members in Jordan and wounded multiple other people last weekend.
The Saturday strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen were "conducted in self-defense against six Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles" that the U.S. said were "prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea."
U.S. Central Command said forces located cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen, finding that they posed a significant and immediate threat to military ships in the region, along with merchant vessels.
Central Command said the strikes were meant to protect ships navigating through the Red Sea in international waters.
Tensions in the area have been increasing since the latest Israel-Hamas conflict that started on Oct. 7, and after Iran-backed fighters carried out drone and rocket attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq.
The Biden Administration and the U.S. military have sought to try and mitigate any possible further flare ups in the region by not striking on Iran directly — but instead by targeting some of its most important proxies in the Middle East.
Scripps News has learned that President Joe Biden was briefed on the strikes and had made the decision to carry them out earlier in the week. A senior administration official said the president "rallied a global coalition to both condemn and hold the Houthis accountable."
The strikes in Yemen are being launched for separate reasons than the latest strikes on Syria and Iraq.
The Yemen strikes are a combined effort between powers including the U.S. and the UK with the stated mission of protecting merchant and military vessels transiting through the vital Red Sea waterway — while the strikes on Syria and Iraq are in retaliation for strikes on U.S. troops.
In an joint statement from Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the forces of those countries said they conducted the "additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes" on at least 30 Houthi targets across at least 10 locations.
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