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Houthis promise ‘escalation’ after US, UK strikes

Houthis protest against airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Sana'a in September 2015. (Henry Ridgwell, VOA/Released)
February 06, 2024

Following a weekend of strikes in Yemen led by US and UK forces, Houthi officials vowed to increase resistance and continue to disrupt international trade at any cost.

On February 2, US and UK forces deployed over 125 munitions, striking more than 85 targets believed to be controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) or affiliated militia groups. On February 3, additional airstrikes were conducted in Yemen, striking 38 additional Houthi targets. 

Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, Houthi spokesperson, posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the US-British bombings will not change their position, adding, “The American-British aggression against Yemen will not go unanswered, and we will meet escalation with escalation.”

According to a press release by CENTCOM, Houthi forces continued to conduct trade-disrupting maneuvers in the Red Sea following the combined US and UK strikes. Self-defense strikes were conducted on February 4 after US forces detected four anti-ship cruise missiles ready to launch in the Red Sea, as well as one Houthi land attack cruise missile. All munitions were disabled. 

In the first response to the US-UK strikes, the Islamic Resistance group conducted an overnight attack on February 4 on a US base at al-Omar oilfield in Eastern Syria that has reportedly left six Syrian Democratic Forces dead and 18 wounded. No US troop casualties were reported. 

According to the Guardian, the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) released the following statement confirming a suicide plane was utilized in the attack: “Six of our fighters were martyred during a terrorist attack by a suicide plane originating from areas controlled by Syrian regime mercenaries, targeting a training academy in the al-Omar field east of Deir ez-Zor.”

In light of the ongoing conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on his fifth diplomatic tour of the Middle East today since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Blinken is reportedly visiting Saudia Arabia, Israel, Egypt, and Qatar to discuss a proposed truce developed during a Paris meeting between US, Israeli, Egyptian, and Qatari officials in January.