(CNN) — The United States and Britain launched additional strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Monday, two officials told CNN, the eighth round of US military bombing against the rebel group’s infrastructure in just 10 days.
President Joe Biden spoke with his British counterpart, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on Monday, the White House said earlier in the day. In their conversation, they touched upon various topics including security in the Red Sea.
For his part, Nasr al-Din Amer, director of the Houthi-run Saba news agency, said the US and UK strikes on Monday hit Yemen’s capital Sanaa and the cities of Taiz, al-Bayda and Hajjah.
“The US-British aggression hit several Yemeni governorates, including the capital Sanaa, Taiz, al-Bayda and Hajjah,” Amer said in a social media post.
CNN previously reported that the United States has named the ongoing operation against Houthi assets in Yemen “Operation Poseidon Archer”, suggesting a more organized and potentially long-term approach to attacks in the country that has emboldened the Houthis. Demanded to stop the U.S. from attacking commercial ships. the Red Sea.
Since January 11, the United States has attacked Houthi positions in Yemen eight times, most of which were launched unilaterally by the US military. The first wave of bombing, in which the United States and the United Kingdom struck about 30 locations in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, marked the beginning of Operation Poseidon Archer, an official said.
The strikes have targeted the Houthis’ unilateral attack drones, anti-ship ballistic missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles and other assets, as the United States tries to impair the group’s ability to attack international shipping lanes .
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said Monday that the Houthis have not launched any new attacks on commercial shipping since January 18. That day, the group claimed to have attacked a US-owned cargo ship, the M/V Ocean Jazz, but a defense official told CNN that the claim was not true.
Biden acknowledged Thursday that the U.S. strikes are not stopping the Houthis, who have continued such activities and, in some cases, attacking U.S.-owned commercial vessels operating off the coast of Yemen.
However, Biden said US airstrikes would continue anyway. And Singh indicated on Monday that it would ultimately be up to the Houthis and pro-Iran groups to decide when to end their attacks.
Singh said last week that the Pentagon’s initial assessment is that strikes against the Houthis have been “very successful” in destroying “almost all targets”, reducing the Houthis’ ability to deploy in the Red Sea in the future. .
The Houthis have said they will not stop their attacks until the war between Israel and Hamas inside Gaza ends. Houthi leader Abdul Malek al-Houthi said in a speech on Thursday that “it is a great honor and blessing to confront the United States directly.”
Last week, the U.S. Navy intercepted a ship carrying Iranian-made missile components bound for Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen off the coast of Somalia, Central Command announced in a statement. CENTCOM said that operation resulted in the deaths of two Navy SEALs who went overboard while trying to board the ship.
The United States launched all of its strikes against Houthi targets last week unilaterally, unlike the coalition of countries that supported the first round of joint US and UK strikes against the Houthis on January 11.
Singh said Thursday that future joint action was not out of the question, but that Centcom commander Gen. Eric Kurilla had the authority to order strikes if deemed necessary to protect shipping in the area, including U.S. naval assets deployed in the Red Sea. . After each strike by the United States against the Houthis last week, CENTCOM said that the missiles destroyed by the United States were being prepared for imminent launch by the Houthis.
John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, told reporters Thursday that the administration was making it “more difficult” for the Houthis to continue their attacks with each attack on their infrastructure. And he said the government had “additional options” available if the Houthis did not stop. But he declined to preview what those alternatives would look like.
“I’m not going to telegraph in any way, except to say what the president said this morning: that if the Houthis continue down this path, we will do everything possible to disrupt them and reduce their ability to Will continue to try. Decision,” he said.
“We are not expecting a conflict with the Houthis, we are not expecting a conflict in the region,” he said. “But we have to be able to act in our own defense, not only of our ships and our sailors, but also of merchant ships and merchant sailors and international shipping in the Red Sea.”