The US And UK Are Bombing Yemen After Houthi Rebels Attacked Ships Linked To Israel To Protest Its War On Gaza

US president Joe Biden said he ordered the strikes to show the Houthis that the US and its allies “will not tolerate” the attacks on shipping.

The US and UK are bombing Yemen after Houthi rebels attacked ships linked to Israel to protest its war in Gaza.

Here’s what’s going on.

The Houthis are an armed group that controls most parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

Houthis armed group control Yemen
Iran-backed Houthi rebels take part in a demonstration against the USA and Israel. Photo: Osamah Yahya/dpa (Photo by Osamah Yahya/picture alliance via Getty Images)

They have been launching missile and drone attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea after Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7.

The group says it has been primarily targeting ships linked to Israel to support Palestinians in Gaza and to pressure Israel to end the war.

Houthis attack Israeli commercial ships
Members of the Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Houthi group patrol the sea as demonstrators march through the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on January 4, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Although some of the attacks were intercepted by the US and Israel, many companies have diverted their ships to go around Africa instead of the Red Sea, which have increased journey times and costs.

On Jan. 12, the US and UK, with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, began launching airstrikes on nearly 30 locations in Yemen, including Sanaa.

As of Monday Jan. 22, the US had launched eight rounds of airstrikes on Yemen and re-added the Houthis to a list of terrorist groups.

UK And US Launch Strikes On Yemen's Houthis
Aircraft takes off from RAF Akrotiri to join the U.S.-led coalition to conduct air strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels on January 11, 2024 in Akrotiri, Cyprus. (Photo by MoD Crown Copyright via Getty Images)

US president Joe Biden said he ordered the strikes to show the Houthis that the US and its allies “will not tolerate” the attacks on shipping.

Several US lawmakers have criticized Biden for ordering the strikes without seeking approval from Congress, which is required by the US Constitution when the president wishes to declare war.

US President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the State Department in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg

Similarly, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also been criticized for carrying out the strikes without first informing the UK parliament.

US officials said that the strikes are aimed at degrading the Houthi’s capabilities to continue the attacks and not to kill leaders.

The Houthis said the strikes have killed at least five people and injured six others.

The group condemned the US’ strikes as terrorism, saying they had not attack American shores or islands.

A Houthi spokesperson said the strikes would “not go unanswered or unpunished”, adding that it will continue to attack Israeli-linked ships to support Palestine and Gaza.

Houthi attack Israeli-link ship
Yemen’s Houthi fighters’ takeover of the Galaxy Leader Cargo in the Red Sea coast off Hudaydah, on November 20, 2023 in the Red Sea, Yemen. (Photo by Houthi Movement via Getty Images)

Following the strikes, massive protests erupted across major cities in Yemen, as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets against the US’ attacks.

Protests In Yemen
Yemenis loyal to the Houthi movement participate in a protest held to condemn the U.S. for redesignating Houthis as a global terrorist group, and against the U.S.-British aerial attacks conducted on Yemen on January 19, 2024, in Sana’a, Yemen. (Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

More than 25,000 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children, have been killed by Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive since Oct. 7.

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