HomeLatest NewsUK, US expected to launch strikes against Houthis ‘within hours’: Report

UK, US expected to launch strikes against Houthis ‘within hours’: Report

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LONDON: Britain is expected to join the United States in conducting overnight air strikes on military positions belonging to the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen “within hours,” the political editor for the Times newspaper reported on Friday.

The US has not confirmed any intention to launch air strikes and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The Houthis need to stop these attacks … they will bear the consequences for any failure to do so,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on Thursday.

Sunak briefed his cabinet of ministers on the imminent military intervention earlier on Thursday, the Times report added.

British media also reported that other political figures, including the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, as well as the speaker of the House of Commons, had been briefed by the government.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi militants have stepped up attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea in protest against Israel’s war in Gaza. Various shipping lines have suspended operations, instead taking the longer journey around Africa.

The US military said the Houthis earlier on Thursday had staged their 27th attack on shipping since Nov. 19, firing an anti-ship ballistic missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden.

Earlier this week, US and British naval forces had shot down drones and missiles fired by the Houthis toward the southern Red Sea.

The US deployed warships and set up an international coalition in December to protect maritime traffic in the area, through which 12 percent of world trade flows.

Late Tuesday, British and US forces shot down 18 drones and three missiles fired by the Houthis in the Red Sea, in what London on Wednesday called the most significant attack by Yemeni rebels to date.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps warned Wednesday that there was “no doubt” Iran was involved and providing weapons and intelligence, while insisting that “enough is enough.” He added that “we must be clear with the Houthis that this has to stop.”

The UN Security Council also Wednesday urged an immediate halt to the attacks on shipping, warning of a threat to regional peace and security. Reuters

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