Latest wave of US, Britain strikes on Yemin’s Houthis had Canada’s support

Canada was among several allies that provided support to the United States and United Kingdom during their second wave of attacks against Houthi targets in Yemen, the Department of National Defence said Saturday.

Canada issued a joint statement with the U.S., U.K., Australia, Bahrain, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial ships travelling in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

This second wave of assaults came after a series of strikes in early January and are aimed at further disabling Iran-backed groups that have attacked international interests in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

Three Canadian Armed Forces personnel continue to provide planning support under Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multinational coalition formed in December to counter the Houthis’ attacks. That includes two planners and one intelligence analyst.

No Canadian military weapons were used in the strikes against the Houthi positions, a Department of National Defence spokesperson said on Sunday.

U.S. warships along with American and British fighter jets struck 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen, the coalition said.

The strikes targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defence systems and radars.

And the coalition warned that they will not back down.

“Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,” the statement said.

Houthis have launched more than 30 attacks on commercial and naval vessels since mid-November, and the offensive continues to be an international challenge, the coalition said.

U.S. Central Command said its forces launched an additional strike on Sunday “in self-defence against a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea,” said a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“U.S. forces identified the cruise missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined it presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region. This action will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels,” U.S. Central Command said.

The recent wave of strikes followed an air assault in Iraq and Syria on Friday that targeted other militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan last weekend.

While there has been no suggestion the Houthis were directly responsible, they have been one of the prime U.S. adversaries since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Hamas killed more than 1,200 people that day in Israel and took about 250 hostages.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said more than 26,000 people have been killed and more than 64,000 wounded in the Israeli military operation since the war began.

The Houthis have been conducting almost daily missile or drone attacks against commercial and naval ships transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and have made clear that they have no intention of scaling back their campaign.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2024.

— With files from The Associated Press

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