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US-UK launch air strikes in Yemen, says local TV

June 18, 2024 at 9:26 am

A military aircraft takes off from the US and British naval fleet as Yemeni local sources states that US and British warplanes have carried out airstrikes on some points in Sana’a, at sea on January 12, 2024 [US Central Command (CENTCOM)/Anadolu Agency]

US and British forces have carried out at least six air strikes on Yemen’s Hudaydah International Airport and four strikes on Kamaran Island near the Red Sea port of Salif, Al-Masirah TV said on Monday. The strikes on Kamaran mark the first time that US-led coalition forces have targeted the island since air strikes on Houthi targets began in early February, said Reuters.

They follow the Houthis’ first successful armed maritime drone strike and other missile assaults that damaged the Tutor and Verbena cargo ships last week. Both of the vessels were abandoned and are now adrift, with Tutor at risk of sinking, said military and security experts.

The Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital and most populous areas, have attacked international shipping in the Red Sea since November in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. In that time, they have sunk one ship, seized another vessel and killed three sailors in separate attacks.

Yemen’s internationally-recognised government believes that Houthi fighters in the past have used Kamaran Island and Port Salif as a site to launch their Red Sea attacks as well as hide stockpiles of missiles and drones in its salt mines, two military sources within the government told Reuters.

The 10 kilometres of water between the port of Salif and Kamaran Island are also part of the route through which ships must transit to reach their next port of call.

Military and security officials said that the Liberian-flagged Tutor has been taking on water since the Houthis hit it with an armed boat drone and air missiles on Wednesday in the Red Sea. That attack damaged the ship’s engine room and caused severe flooding.

Personnel from the US Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group airlifted the Tutor’s crew to safety. One sailor remains missing.

US Central Command said separately that crew members from the Palau-flagged Verbena issued a distress call this weekend due to uncontrolled fires sparked by two Houthi missile strikes in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday. The Cayman Islands-flagged Anna-Meta wheat carrier rescued Verbena’s crew and is transporting them to safety, said CENTCOM.

Despite reprisals from the US-British coalition and other navies, the Houthis have escalated their campaign against commercial vessels connected in any way with Israel in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Their missile and drone attacks have forced ship owners to reroute vessels away from the vital Suez Canal, sending costs and delays cascading through the vital shipping industry that transports about 80 per cent of international trade.

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