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Joint US-British Airstrikes Killed 16 People In Yemen

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

With the U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea, a joint British-U.S. airstrike targeting Yemen’s Houthi rebels killed at least 16 people and wounded 42 others, the rebels said Friday. Officials said, other U.S. warships in the region also participated.

Three U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe a then-ongoing attack, described the strikes Thursday as hitting a wide range of underground facilities, missile launchers, command and control sites, a Houthi vessel and other facilities. They called it a response to a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden over the Israel-Hamas war.

But the Houthis focused Friday morning on a strike they said struck a building housing Hodeida Radio and civilian homes in the port city on the Red Sea. Their Al Masirah satellite news channel aired images of one bloodied man being carried down stairs and others in the hospital, receiving aid. It said all the dead and nearly all the wounded from the strikes came from there.

The Houthis described all those killed and hurt in Hodeida as civilians, something The Associated Press couldn’t immediately confirm. The rebel force that’s held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014 includes fighters who often aren’t in uniform.

Other strikes hit outside of Sanaa near its airport, and communication equipment in Taiz, the broadcaster said. Little other information was released on those sites — likely signaling that Houthi military sites had been struck. One person was wounded in Sanaa.

“We confirm this brutal aggression against Yemen as punishment for its position in support of Gaza, in support of Israel to continue its crimes of genocide against the wounded, besieged and steadfast Gaza Strip,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam posted on X.

UK’s Defense Ministry said that Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s conducted strikes on both Hodeida and further south in Ghulayfiqah. It described its targets as “buildings identified as housing drone ground control facilities and providing storage for very long-range drones, as well as surface-to-air weapons.”

“The strikes were taken in self-defense in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose,” U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said. “There’s an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose.”

Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi official, threatened both the U.S. and U.K. with further retaliation.

“We will meet escalation with escalation,” he wrote on X.

Yemen’s military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, gave the casualty figures, then alleged without offering any evidence that the rebels targeted the Eisenhower in response with drones and ballistic missiles. Another U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said that the aircraft carrier was fine.

The Houthis have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians there. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration. This week, they attacked a ship carrying grain to Iran, the rebels’ main benefactor._AP

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