The United Kingdom joined bombing operations in Yemen on Friday utilising its Royal Air Force base in Akrotiri, Cyprus, as announced by the British Ministry of Defence.
These targeted strikes were directed at positions held by the Houthi rebels, a Shia Islamist organisation reportedly supported by Iran. The Houthi movement controls a significant portion of western Yemen and has been targeting ships in the Red Sea in response to western backing for Israel.
As reported by British media, two pairs of Typhoon FGR4 aircraft, were launched from the RAF Akrotiri base, under American leadership.
A warm welcome to four @RoyalAirForce Typhoons to @RAFAkrotiri as part of wider UK support to NATO in Eastern Europe in a defensive role during this time of heightened tensions on Ukraine border. pic.twitter.com/s7RxgRGGKf
— BFCyprus (@bfcyprus) February 17, 2022
Supported by a Voyager fuel tanker, the Typhoons utilised Paveway IV guided missiles for precision airstrikes within the operation.
According to the MoD, the aircraft targeted buildings in the Bani region in northwest Yemen, where the Houthis launched drones for reconnaissance flights and attacks.
Additionally, the strikes hit a military airport in the city of Hodeida, from which cruise missiles and drones were launched towards the Red Sea.
The MoD emphasised it was a “carefully coordinated” attack on crucial Houthi installations to limit their ability to violate international law by attacking ships in the Red Sea.
“The detailed results of the strikes are being assessed, but initial indications suggest that the Houthis’ ability to threaten maritime traffic has been dealt a blow,” the ministry stated.
Freedom of navigation
Defence Minister Grant Shapps said that, “the threat to innocent lives and global trade has become so significant that this action was not only necessary, but also our duty to protect ships and the freedom of navigation.”
Earlier Thursday night, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had stated that the ongoing Houthi attacks “cannot continue.”
He spoke of defending freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade through “limited, necessary, and proportionate self-defence action” in collaboration with the United States, with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada, and Bahrain, aiming to degrade Houthi military capabilities and safeguard global maritime interests.
The U.S. and the U.K. conducted 73 strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, resulting in the loss of five lives and six individuals sustaining injuries, as announced by Yahia Sarea, a Houthi military spokesperson.
“The American-British adversary… launched 73 raids, targeting the capital Sanaa and the provinces of Hodeidah, Taiz, Hajjah, and Saada. These attacks caused the death of five martyrs and the injury of six other members of our armed forces,” stated Sarea on Platform X, declaring that this “aggression… will not go unanswered.”