Houthis threaten retaliation after U.S., Britain launch over 300 airstrikes in Yemen

Lin Congyi
2024-02-05 23:24:28

ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi group on Monday accused the United States and Britain of "unjustified aggression" and threatened retaliation after the two nations conducted more than 300 airstrikes across the country in the past month.

Houthi officials said the airstrikes hit their camps and positions in several northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa.

The attacks included at least 15 strikes Sunday night targeting Houthi strongholds in Saada province and the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

"The U.S. is attacking Yemen and it will not escape punishment," Hussein al-Ezzi, a Houthi official, said at a press conference aired by the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV.

"We can never be silent about the aggression against our country, and it will not affect our position toward Gaza and Palestine," he stressed.

Al-Ezzi said targeting American and British ships in the Red Sea was a possible retaliation for the strikes on Yemeni soil.

The U.S. Defense Department said the airstrikes were meant to "further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilizing attacks against U.S. and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea."

But the Houthis dismissed this justification. Chief Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Al-Masirah TV on Sunday that the airstrikes would not destroy their weapons or limit their military operations and capabilities.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea also issued a direct warning, vowing that Houthis would launch reprisal attacks against the U.S. Navy.

The ongoing airstrikes and promises of retaliation signaled an increasingly volatile situation as the Yemen civil war continued with no end in sight.

For several months, the Houthi group has intensified military operations in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait, targeting commercial ships with armed boats, drones and sea missiles. The group claims these ships are either Israeli or heading to Israeli ports, in response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Since the Houthis overthrew the internationally recognized government in 2014, the group has been engaged in a bloody civil war against pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition. 

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