US airstrikes in Middle East, Israel-Hamas war, Gaza crisis

US-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Yemen in response to the Houthi aggression at the Red Sea on February 3. US Central Command

The US and the United Kingdom have conducted strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen from air and surface platforms — including F/A-18s — on over 30 targets across 13 locations, according to officials.

The US and UK carried out the strikes with the support of several other countries, according to a joint statement on Saturday.

“Today’s strike specifically targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars,” the statement released by the US, UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand said.

The Houthis said US and UK warplanes struck multiple provinces in Yemen, including the capital of Sanaa.

Two US destroyers fired Tomahawk missiles as part of the strikes, a US official told CNN. The USS Gravely and USS Carney fired the land-attack cruise missiles and F/A-18 fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier were also involved, officials said.

For context: Strikes on consecutive days come as President Joe Biden’s administration has vowed a “multi-tiered” response to a drone attack that killed three US service members and wounded more than 40 last weekend.

Seeking to avoid a regional war with Tehran, the US has not targeted Iran directly, instead going after some of its most powerful proxies in the region. It is an indirect way of trying to send a message to Iran’s leadership, which has grown increasingly nervous about the actions of some of the militant organizations it backs, CNN has reported. Iran funds, arms and supplies these groups to different degrees, but its leadership does not control them directly.

The strikes in Yemen are distinct from the attacks in Iraq and Syria: The former is a response to ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping lanes and US warships in the Red Sea, while the latter is a retaliation for a deadly attack on US troops. But both target Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East.

CNN’s Eyad Kourdi contributed to this post.

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