The United States, in collaboration with the United Kingdom, initiated multiple airstrikes against Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen on Monday. This action was a response to ongoing Houthi assaults on merchant ships in international waters near the Arabian Peninsula. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) led the strikes with support from the UK Armed Forces, backed by a coalition including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands.
CENTCOM's statement detailed that the targeted airstrikes focused on Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, identified as launching points for attacks on international merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships.
“These strikes from this multilateral coalition targeted areas in Houthi-controlled Yemen used to attack international merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “The targets included missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, radars, and deeply buried weapons storage facilities.”
The objective of these strikes was to impair the Houthis' ability to continue their aggressive and unlawful attacks on maritime vessels in key waterways such as the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.
The statement from CENTCOM clarified that these strikes are distinct from the ongoing multinational freedom of navigation operations under Operation Prosperity Guardian.
Concurrently, the U.S. Navy disclosed the identities of two Navy SEALs, Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers, 37, and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram, 27, killed earlier this month during a mission off Africa's coast. Their mission involved interdicting a ship illegally transporting advanced Iranian weapons to Houthi forces in Yemen. The tragic incident occurred when one SEAL was swept away by strong waves while boarding the vessel, leading another SEAL to attempt a rescue.
The multinational effort to locate the missing SEALs involved assistance from Spain and Japan, highlighting the complex and collaborative nature of military operations in the region.
These developments underline the ongoing tensions and security challenges in the Middle East, particularly concerning the Houthis' activities in Yemen and their impact on regional and international maritime security.