The United States and Britain have launched retaliatory strikes against Iran-linked sites in Yemen, targeting 36 Huthi targets. The strikes were carried out by ships and warplanes, following a drone strike in Jordan last month that killed three American service members.
The US claims the air strikes were successful, with 13 different locations in Yemen being hit by U.S. F/A-18 jets from the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and U.S. warships in the Red Sea firing Tomahawk missiles. U.S. officials earlier said they believed the air strikes on dozens of Iran-linked sites in Syria and Iraq were successful, and U.S. allies expressed support for the move.
Britain and Poland supported U.S. actions against Iran, citing its right to respond and warning of Iran’s proxies’ “playing with fire.” Iran strongly condemns the air strikes, while Iraq protests with the U.S. charge d’affaires.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 23 guards at targeted sites had been killed. U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the response began today and will continue at times and places of their choosing. He stated that the United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, but if anyone harms an American, they will respond. A British government spokesperson condemned alleged Iranian actions in the region as “destabilizing” and reiterated London’s “steadfast” alliance with Washington.
Poland condemned Iran and its alleged sponsors, accusing the US of undermining stability in the region, whose Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has significant ties to regional militias. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Naser Kanani, said that the recent attack on Syria and Iraq was an adventurous action and another strategic mistake by the U.S. government, which would have no result other than intensifying tension and instability in the region.
Iraqi Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani has accused the U.S.-led military coalition in the region of threatening security and sovereignty in his country, with 16 dead and two dozen injured. He rejected any suggestion that Washington had coordinated the air strikes with his government.
Sudani has requested the withdrawal of US troops in Iraq following a previous air strike in Baghdad. The Foreign Ministry of Syria criticized the US actions as fueling further Middle Eastern conflict, arguing they have exacerbated the situation.
The US informed the Iraqi government about the recent attacks on the Iraqi government, which targeted command and control operations, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors. The attacks targeted the “footprints” of the Tehran-sponsored Kataib Hizballah militia in Iraq and vowed to hold those responsible accountable at a time and place of Washington’s choosing, likely in Syria or Iraq.
Biden has resisted pressure from opposition Republicans to take a harder line against Iran following the Jordan attack, stating that a wider war in the Middle East is not necessary. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has stated that Tehran will not initiate a war but will respond strongly to any attempts to bully them. The Iran-backed Harakat al-Nujaba militia in Iraq has stated that every action triggers a reaction but does not wish to escalate regional tensions.
The clashes between US forces and Iran-backed militias have occurred amid a four-month military campaign against Hamas, a terrorist group that killed at least 1,200 people in Israel. The Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen have also targeted international shipping in the region to demonstrate support for Palestinians. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel, and the West Bank during his fifth round of crisis talks.