Update: Military airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen by the U.S. and UK are set to commence, potentially as early as tonight.
During a televised address on Thursday, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi declared that the group would retaliate if the U.S. initiated an attack. He asserted, “Any American attack will not go unanswered.
The response will surpass the attack involving twenty drones and numerous missiles,” referring to the group’s actions on Wednesday.
He further stated, “We are resolute in targeting vessels associated with Israel, and we will not retreat from that stance.”
John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, and Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle have now entered the cabinet office, responsible for supporting the UK Prime Minister.
They are there to receive a briefing on the discussions that took place in the meeting with senior government officials.
As previously reported, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been conducting a conference call with his cabinet to discuss the potential for military strikes by the British and US against the Houthis in Yemen.
Brig Gen Pat Ryder, spokesperson for the Pentagon, has refrained from commenting on the UK reports regarding possible action against Houthi rebels during a news conference in Washington DC.
Gen Ryder stated, “I’m not going to telegraph, forecast, or speculate on any potential future operations,” adding that the collective statement from multiple nations indicating consequences if the attacks persist speaks for itself. He concluded, “I’ll just leave it at that.”
The US Central Command (Centcom) reports that Houthi rebels have executed their 27th attack on commercial shipping routes in the Red Sea since November 19.
According to Centcom, at approximately 02:30 Yemeni time on Thursday, the Iranian-backed Houthis launched “an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen” into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden.
One commercial vessel witnessed the missile impacting the water, and as of now, no injuries or damage have been reported.
Despite international pressure, the Iranian-backed Houthis, in control of their country’s Red Sea coastline, have shown no signs of relenting.
This is a developing story that will be updated when more information is available.