Israel-Hamas War Live Updates: Houthis Vow to Respond After U.S. Strikes

Since mid-November, the Houthis, a Yemeni insurgent group backed by Iran, have launched dozens of attacks on ships crusing by the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, a vital transport route by which 12 p.c of world commerce passes.

The United States and a handful of allies, together with Britain, struck again, finishing up missile strikes on Houthi targets inside Yemen early Friday native time and thrusting the rebels and their long-running armed battle additional into the limelight.

The assault on Houthi bases got here a day after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn “in the strongest terms” at the least two dozen assaults carried out by the Houthis on service provider and business vessels, which it mentioned had impeded world commerce and undermined navigational freedom.

Here’s a primer on the Houthis, their relationship with Hamas and the assaults within the Red Sea.

Who are the Houthis?

The Houthis, led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, are an Iran-backed group of Shiite rebels who’ve been preventing Yemen’s authorities for about 20 years and now management the nation’s northwest and its capital, Sana.

They have constructed their ideology round opposition to Israel and the United States, seeing themselves as a part of the Iranian-led “axis of resistance,” together with Hamas within the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Their leaders usually draw parallels between the American-made bombs used to pummel their forces in Yemen and the arms sent to Israel and utilized in Gaza.

Models of Houthi-made drones on show in Sana, Yemen, on Wednesday.Credit…Yahya Arhab/EPA, through Shutterstock

In 2014, a army coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened to attempt to restore the nation’s unique authorities after the Houthis seized the capital, beginning a civil battle that has killed a whole bunch of 1000’s.

Last April, talks between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia raised hopes for a peace deal that will doubtlessly acknowledge the Houthis’ proper to govern northern Yemen.

Once a gaggle of poorly organized rebels, the Houthis have bolstered their arsenal in recent times, and it now consists of cruise and ballistic missiles and long-range drones. Analysts credit score this growth to assist from Iran, which has provided militias throughout the Middle East to broaden its personal affect.

Why are they attacking ships within the Red Sea?

When the Israeli-Hamas battle started on Oct. 7, the Houthis declared their assist for Hamas and mentioned they might goal any ship touring to Israel or leaving it.

Yahya Sarea, a Houthi spokesman, has mentioned frequently that the group is attacking ships to protest the “killing, destruction and siege” in Gaza and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian folks.

Yahya Sarea, a Houthi spokesman, making an announcement on Wednesday.Credit…Yahya Arhab/EPA, through Shutterstock

The Gazan authorities say that greater than 23,000 folks, most of them civilians, have been killed within the Israeli bombing marketing campaign and floor offensive that started after Hamas carried out cross-border raids and massacred, the Israeli authorities say, about 1,200 folks.

Since November, the Houthis have launched 27 assaults with drones and missiles on vessels within the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden that they declare are heading towards or leaving Israeli ports. The newest was on Thursday at 2 a.m., when a missile landed close to a business vessel, the U.S. army mentioned.

Perhaps essentially the most audacious Houthi operation got here on Nov. 19, when gunmen hijacked a vessel named the Galaxy Leader and took it to a Yemeni port, holding its 25 crew members, primarily Filipinos, captive.

How are the assaults affecting international locations world wide?

Speaking to reporters in Bahrain on Wednesday, the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, warned that continued Houthi assaults within the Red Sea may disrupt provide chains and in flip improve prices for on a regular basis items. The Houthis’ assaults have affected ships tied to greater than 40 international locations, he mentioned.

A seized ship, the Galaxy Leader, might be seen off the Yemeni coast in December.Credit…Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

The world’s largest container firms, MSC and Maersk, have mentioned they’re avoiding the area, and transport firms are left with tough choices.

Rerouting vessels round Africa provides an additional 4,000 miles and 10 days to transport routes, and requires extra gasoline. But persevering with to use the Red Sea would increase insurance coverage premiums. Either choice would bruise an already fragile world economic system.

What has the U.S. been doing to cease the Houthi assaults?

The Biden administration repeatedly condemned Houthi assaults within the Red Sea and assembled a naval job drive to attempt maintain them in test.

The job drive, referred to as Operation Prosperity Guardian, introduced collectively the United States, Britain and different allies and has been patrolling the Red Sea to, in Mr. Blinken’s phrases, “preserve freedom of navigation” and “freedom of shipping.”

Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, on a airplane headed towards Bahrain on Wednesday.Credit…Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Bahrain is the one Middle Eastern nation that agreed to take part. Even although many international locations within the area rely on commerce that goes by the Red Sea, many don’t want to be related to the United States, Israel’s closest ally, analysts say.

U.S. and British warships have intercepted some Houthi missiles and drones earlier than they reached their targets. On Wednesday, American fighter jets from the plane provider U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower, together with 4 different warships, intercepted 18 drones, two anti-ship cruise missiles and one anti-ship ballistic missile, Central Command mentioned in an announcement.

On Dec. 31, U.S. Navy helicopters sank three Houthi boats that had been attacking a business freighter.

Ben Hubbard, Peter Eavis, Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Keith Bradsher contributed reporting.

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