U.S. And UK Carry Out Strikes On Houthi Positions In Yemen – What We Know


An EA-18G launches from USS Eisenhower during the air strikes on Yemen. (Image generated by The Aviationist based on a video released by CENTCOM)

Supported by Allies, US and UK have carried out strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen in response to ‘unprecedented’ attacks.

“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,” says U.S. President Biden in a statement released in the night between Jan. 11 and 12, 2024.

“These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea—including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history. These attacks have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.”

“More than 50 nations have been affected in 27 attacks on international commercial shipping. Crews from more than 20 countries have been threatened or taken hostage in acts of piracy. More than 2,000 ships have been forced to divert thousands of miles to avoid the Red Sea—which can cause weeks of delays in product shipping times. And on January 9, Houthis launched their largest attack to date—directly targeting American ships.”

Indeed, Houthis have launched 27 attacks in the Red Sea since Nov. 19, 2023, the last of those on Jan. 11, when the rebel group fired a cruise missile into shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. Until last night, the assets in the area (the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Gravely, USS Laboon, USS Mason and the Royal Navy’s Type 45 guided missile destroyer HMS Diamond) had cooperated to repel one-way attack UAVs, anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-ship ballistic missiles.

But a decision to launch a military response came after the Houthis launched a complex drone and missile attack aimed at a fleet of American and British warships. The US and the UK warned after shooting down a barrage of rockets, drones and cruise missiles “there will be consequences”.

“The response of the international community to these reckless attacks has been united and resolute,” Biden says. “Last month, the United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian—a coalition of more than 20 nations committed to defending international shipping and deterring Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.  We also joined more than 40 nations in condemning Houthi threats. Last week, together with 13 allies and partners, we issued an unequivocal warning that Houthi rebels would bear the consequences if their attacks did not cease. And yesterday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding the Houthis end attacks on merchant and commercial vessels.”

“Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels. These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes. I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

More details about the attack were provided by AFCENT.

“At the direction of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Air Forces Central, CENTCOM’s Joint & Combined Air Component Command, executed deliberate strikes on over 60 targets at 16 Iranian-backed Houthi militant locations, including command and control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems,” says an official statement by U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, U.S. Air Forces Central and Combined Forces Air Component Commander.

“Over 100 precision-guided munitions of various types were used in the strikes. These strikes were comprised of coalition air and maritime strike and support assets from across the region, including U.S. Naval Forces Central Command aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from surface and sub-surface platforms.”

“This multi-national strike reinforces the international community’s commitment to freedom of navigation and against repeated Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles attacks on commercial and U.S. and coalition military vessels in the Red Sea.”

Footage from the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier shows a series of catapult launches, including an EA-18G Growler with VAQ-130 taking off carrying what appear to be AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles and an E-2C Hawkeye assigned to VAW-123. More than 15 Super Hornets were launched from the carrier and returned safely after the air strikes.

Images of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from an Arleigh Burke destroyer were also released by CENTCOM.

Dealing with the British contribution, four RAF Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 jets took part in the raids attacking two Houthi targets in Yemen, flying from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.

Several other supporting assets were monitored in the area.

Houthi rebels claimed to have instantly retaliated but a senior US military official said no Houthi response has so far materialised.

“As of right now, we have not seen any direct retaliatory action directed towards our US or other coalition members,” the US official said, adding: “We remain prepared of course to defend ourselves.”

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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