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U.S. and UK Hit Back After Houthi Attacks

A Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter takes off on a mission to strike Houthi targets, May 30 (UK Ministry of Defence)
A Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter takes off on a mission to strike Houthi targets, May 30 (UK Ministry of Defence)

Published May 30, 2024 8:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday, U.S. and UK forces carried out strikes against more than a dozen Houthi rebel positions in Yemen, responding to a resurgence in the group's attacks on merchant shipping and coalition assets. 

In a statement, U.S. Central Command said that its forces destroyed a wave of eight Houthi drones over the Red Sea and Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Thursday afternoon. In response, The U.S. and its British allies struck 13 Houthi positions in "terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen in self-defense." 

U.S. officials told AP that the targets included missile launchers, command posts, underground facilities and a Houthi vessel, among others. 

One day prior, Houthi forces downed another U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone with an antiaircraft missile, marking the sixth American aircraft shootdown the group has claimed. The day before that, Houthi rebels hit a Greek-owned bulker multiple times in two separate missile attacks, causing damage to the hull and shattering a cargo hatch. Laax's embarked maritime security contractor, LSS-SAPU, told the AP that the vessel was hit five times by antiship missiles. The crew was uninjured and the ship continued on to its next port of call.

The vessel, the bulker Laax, was carrying a load of grain for delivery to Iran, according to a statement by the French Navy. If accurate, the cargo's destination suggests the possibility of a miscalculation: the Iranian government is the Houthi movement's primary sponsor, and supplies the terrorist group with its missile and drone technology. The Laax was inspected by an explosives disposal team based in Djibouti - where France maintains an overseas base - and no further hazards were found aboard the vessel. 

Damage to a hatch cover aboard the Laax (Marine Nationale)