The United States and Britain have started carrying out strikes against targets linked to Houthis in Yemen, four U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday, the first time strikes have been launched against the Iran-backed group since it started targeting international shipping in the Red Sea late last year.
The Houthis, who control most of Yemen, have been targeting Red Sea shipping routes to show their support for Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group. The attacks have disrupted international commerce on the key route between Europe and Asia that accounts for about 15% of the world’s shipping traffic.
These are believed to be the first strikes the United States has carried out against the Houthis in Yemen since 2016.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a formal statement was soon expected to detail the strikes.
Earlier on Thursday, the Houthi’s leader said any U.S. attack on the group would not go without a response.
The Houthis, who seized much of Yemen in a civil war, have vowed to attack ships linked to Israel or bound for Israeli ports. However, many of the targeted ships have had no links to Israel.
The U.S. military said on Thursday Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden, the 27th attack by the group since Nov. 19.
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