Yemen's Houthis vow 'strong response' after new US attack

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Yemen's Houthis vow 'strong response' after new US attack

Yemen's Houthis vow 'strong response' after new US attack

The Houthi movement threatened a "strong and effective response" after the United States carried out another strike in Yemen overnight, further raising tensions as Washington vows to protect shipping. from attacks by Iran's allies.

The attacks added to concerns about the escalating conflict that has spread across the region since the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel went to war, with Iran's allies also entering the fray from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

The latest strike, which the US said hit a radar site, came a day after dozens of US and British strikes against Houthi installations in Yemen.

"This new attack will have a firm, strong and effective response," Houthi spokesman Nasruldeen Amer told Al Jazeera, adding that there were no injuries or "material damage".

Mohammed Abdulsalam, another Houthi spokesman, told Reuters that the attacks, including one overnight on a military base in Sana'a, had not had a significant impact on the group's ability to stop Israeli-affiliated ships from crossing the Red Sea. and the Arabian Sea.

The Pentagon said on Friday that the US and British strikes had "good effects".

Hans Grundberg, the UN's special envoy for Yemen, on Saturday urged maximum restraint by "all involved" in Yemen and warned of an increasingly precarious situation in the region.

The Houthis say their maritime campaign is aimed at supporting Palestinians under siege and Israeli attack in Iran-backed Hamas-ruled Gaza. Many of the ships they attacked had no known connection to Israel.

The group, which controls Sanaa and much of western and northern Yemen, has also fired drones and missiles from the Red Sea into Israel itself.

The guided-missile destroyer Carney used Tomahawk missiles in the follow-up attack early Saturday local time "to degrade the Houthis' ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels," US Central Command said in a statement. at X, formerly Twitter.

In Sana'a, government official Mohammed Samei said the attacks were an act of "brutal aggression" and marked a new stage in a war Yemen has endured for 10 years.

Hussein Kabsi, a retired government employee, said supporting the Palestinians was a "religious and moral duty".

"Our stance is unwavering, (we will continue) to support our brothers in Palestine and Gaza until victory and until all Palestinian land is liberated, not just Gaza," he said.

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in Sanaa, chanting slogans denouncing Israel and the United States, according to images broadcast by the Houthis' Al-Masirah television channel.

Even as Houthi leaders vowed retaliation, US President Joe Biden warned on Friday that he could order more strikes if they do not halt their attacks on merchant and military ships on one of the world's most economically vital waterways.

"We will make sure to respond to the Houthis if they continue with this outrageous behavior," Biden told reporters.

White House spokesman John Kirby said the initial strikes had affected the Houthis' ability to store, launch and guide missiles or drones, which the group used to threaten shipping. He said Washington had no interest in a war with Yemen.

The Houthis said five fighters were killed in the initial attacks.

Reporters asked Biden, whose administration removed the Houthis from a State Department list of "foreign terrorist organizations" in 2021, if he felt the term "terrorist" described the movement now. "I think I am," he said.

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The Red Sea crisis has added to the spread of conflict in the Middle East since Hamas militants swept through southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages.

Israel has responded by razing large sections of Gaza in an attempt to annihilate Hamas. A total of 23,843 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the enclave since October 7, the Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

On Friday, at the UN Security Council, Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said that the United States and Britain "alone caused an extension of the conflict (in Gaza) to the whole region".

A senior US official has accused Tehran of providing the Yemeni group with military capabilities and intelligence to carry out its attacks. Iran condemned.

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