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U.K. Leader Says New Strikes on Houthis Were In ‘Response To a Persistent Threat’

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the House of Commons on Tuesday regarding a second round of U.S. and U.K. coordinated strikes targeting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, following the group’s attacks in the Red Sea.

“At my order, overnight the RAF engaged in a second wave of strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen. We did so because we continue to see… an ongoing and imminent threat from the Houthis,” said Sunak. 

The U.K. leader added that the strikes were "fully aligned with international law, in self-defense, and in response to a persistent threat” and ”were limited to carefully selected targets, with maximum caretaking to protect civilian lives.” So far, no civilian casualties have been reported. 

 The U.S. and U.K. targeted the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who control most of the Northern part of the country, after the Houthis began attacking cargo ships passing through the Red Sea in October in an attempt to show support for the Palestinian cause in Gaza. 

“​​We say to America and Britain, stop the crimes of genocide in Gaza and stop your aggression against Yemen, and we will stop all our military operations immediately and automatically. There is no meaning to peace in light of the continuing crimes of genocide in Gaza, the starvation of its residents, and the deprivation of their right to live on their land,” wrote Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, a spokesperson for the Houthi rebels on X (formerly Twitter), on Jan. 18.

In December, the U.S. launched a 10-country coalition force to deter attacks and intercept Houthi missiles. However, Sunak told parliament that offensive attacks became necessary as the barrage of strikes continued. 

“Attempting to counter every Houthi attack after it has been launched is simply not sustainable,” Sunak said in his address at the House of Commons. “We have already shot down dozens of missiles and drones targeted at civilian vessels and at the Royal Navy. The Houthis have conducted at least 12 further attacks on shipping since the 11th of January.”

Sunak also emphasized that the strikes were being carried out in addition to diplomatic and economic strategies, and noted that more sanctions against the Houthis can be expected in the upcoming days. He vehemently denied that there was a connection between the strikes against the Houthis and the U.K.’s policy toward the situation in Gaza. 

“There is no link between our actions in the Red Sea and the situation between Israel and Gaza. Those who make that link do the Houthis work for them,” said Sunak. 

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