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Houthi rebels vow to respond to US, UK strikes in Yemen

Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Sunday pledged to push forward with their military operations and respond to the latest set of strikes by the United States and Britain over the weekend.

The strikes, conducted by the U.S. and the United Kingdom on Saturday with fighter jets and ships, were aimed at 13 locations associated with the Iran-backed militant group’s weapons storage facilities, missile systems, air defense systems and radars, the Pentagon said Saturday.

The rebel group has launched a series of missile or drone attacks against commercial and military ships in the Red Sea in recent months, disrupting trade routes and destabilizing the region against the backdrop of Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group also backed by Iran.

Ameen Hayyan, a spokesman for the group, said Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, that the latest U.S. and U.K. attacks “will not deter us from our moral, religious and humanitarian stance” in support of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Hayyan added the attacks “will not pass without response and punishment.”

The rebel group is conducting a maritime campaign against Israeli-linked ships in response to Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. Some of their attacks have hit ships with no ties to Israel, however, prompting several shipping companies to detour their routes.

Defense Secretary Llyod Austin confirmed the strikes on Saturday, stating it “sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences,” if they do not halt their attacks in the Red Sea.

Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi official, echoed Hayyan’s remarks and said the “American-British” aggression against Yemen “will not go unanswered.”

“Our war is moral, and if we had not intervened to support the oppressed in Gaza, humanity would not have existed among humans,” he wrote on X. “The American-British aggression against Yemen will not go unanswered, and we will meet escalation with escalation.”

The weekend strikes came days after the U.S. Navy shot down three Iranian drones and one anti-ship ballast missile launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The strikes marked the third time the U.S. and Britain have launched joint operations against Houthi’s assets. Austin said Saturday that the U.S. “will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”

U.S. officials said last week U.S. troops have come under fire from various Iranian-backed groups over 160 times since last October, including last week’s deadly drone strike in Jordan that killed three U.S. service members and wounded about 40 others.

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