British and US forces have hit Houthi missile sites in Yemen with a second wave of joint airstrikes aimed at ‘dealing another blow’ to the Iran-backed group as it continues to terrorise ships in the Red Sea, officials have said.
Warship and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles, as well as fighter jets, have been used to take out Houthi missile storage sites and launchers, according to US defence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A joint statement from the UK, US, Australia, Bahrain and a number of other nations said they had ‘conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against eight Houthi targets in Yemen’.
‘Today’s strike specifically targeted a Houthi underground storage site and locations associated with the Houthis’ missile and air surveillance capabilities,’ the statement added.
The Ministry of Defence said four Typhoon fighter jets, supported by a pair of Voyager refuelling tankers, flew from Cyprus to join US forces in the airstrikes.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US president Joe Biden held a phone call in which they agreed to continue efforts to ‘deter and disrupt’ ongoing attacks by the Houthis on commercial and military vessels.
The joint US and UK operation was supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands.
The coalition said that ‘precision strikes’ directed by the UK and US governments ‘are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners’.
They added that they were ‘in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilising Houthi actions since our coalition strikes on January 11,’ when US and UK warships and jets hit more than 60 targets in 28 locations.
That was the first US military response to what has been a persistent campaign of Houthi drone and missile attacks on commercial ships since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October.
In recent days, the US launched seven rounds of airstrikes on Houthi military sites, targeting air bases under the rebels’ control and suspected missile launch sites.