The United States and Britain carried out large-scale military strikes on Saturday against multiple sites in Yemen controlled by Houthi militants, according to a statement from the two countries and six supporting allies, as the Biden administration continued its reprisal campaign in the Middle East targeting Iran-backed militias.
The attacks against 36 Houthi targets at 13 sites in territory the group controls in northern Yemen came barely 24 hours after the United States carried out a series of military strikes against Iranian forces and the militias they support at seven sites in Syria and Iraq. American and British warplanes hit deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars, the statement said. Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand provided support, which officials said included intelligence and logistics assistance.
“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi actions since previous coalition strikes,” the statement said, alluding to major attacks by the United States and Britain on Jan. 11 and Jan. 22.
While the Biden administration maintains that it is not looking to widen the war in the region, the strikes over the past two days mark an escalation.
The strikes in Yemen hit multiple targets at each site, and were bigger and broader than a recent series of attacks against individual Houthi missiles. (The Pentagon calls the latter “self-defense” strikes because they are meant to stop missiles from hitting ships in the Red Sea. Saturday’s strikes, by contrast, were meant to degrade the Houthis’ overall capabilities.)