Houthis Say US and UK Carried Out Deadliest Strike Yet on Yemen

(Bloomberg) -- Houthi militants said the US and UK killed at least 16 people with airstrikes on Yemen on Thursday, in the deadliest assault on the group since the start of a campaign in January to prevent its attacks on ships around the Red Sea.

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The Iran-backed militant organization on Friday said it targeted a US aircraft carrier in the area, the Dwight D. Eisenhower, in response. Though, there was no attack in the vicinity of the ship and it wasn’t hit, a Politico reporter said, citing a US Defense Department official.

The Houthis have regularly aim at US naval vessels this year with drones and missiles, all of them missing or being intercepted.

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The US and UK militaries struck 13 Houthi targets in Yemen with their latest assault. The Houthis said some of those who died were civilians in the port city of Hodeida. Sanaa, the capital, and other areas were also struck, the Houthis said.

The US military said that, in addition to the strikes, it destroyed eight unmanned aerial vehicles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and surrounding waters on Thursday.

“It was determined that these UAVs and sites presented a threat to US and coalition forces and merchant vessels in the region,” US Central Command, which oversees US forces in the Middle East, said.

Houthi missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden started in November and have disrupted global trade. Many major shipping firms are avoiding the area, which links with the Suez Canal, and sending ships going between Asia and Europe on much longer voyages around southern Africa. That’s sent freight rates soaring.

The militants have vowed to continue their attacks in solidarity with Palestinians and are calling on Israel to stop its war against Hamas in Gaza.

The assault comes as Israeli troops pursue Hamas militants in Rafah. The US, European Union and other allies have either urged Israel to stop its operations in the southern Gaza city or do more to protect civilians.

(Updates with Politico report on US official saying there was no attack in the vicinity of its aircraft carrier.)

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