UK’s Sunak says US, British strikes against Houthis ‘necessary, proportionate’

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US and British airstrikes carried out early Friday against Houthi targets in Yemen over recent attacks on Red Sea shipping were “necessary and proportionate”, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

“Despite the repeated warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks in the Red Sea,” Sunak said in a statement.

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“We have therefore taken limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defense, alongside the United States... to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping,” he said.

Sunak’s statement followed comments by US President Joe Biden about the strikes carried out against the Houthis, who control wide areas of Yemen.

Biden described the joint strikes as “defensive” and warned of further measures if the Iran-backed group kept attacking Red Sea shipping.

He said Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands had also provided non-operational support.

The Houthis have stepped up attacks in recent weeks on shipping in the Red Sea, a vital waterway through which 12 percent of world trade flows.

Houthi television channel Al-Massirah said the air strikes hit the capital Sanaa as well as the cities of Hodeida and Saada.

US and British forces this week shot down 18 drones and three missiles fired by Houthis in the Red Sea in what Washington called a “complex Iranian-designed” attack.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on social media platform X that four Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets had taken part in Friday’s strikes against Houthi targets alongside US forces.

Sunak described the Houthis’ actions as “irresponsible” and “destabilizing” and said their attacks were “driving up commodity prices”.

“This cannot stand. The UK will always defend freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade,” he said.

Read more:

US, UK strike over a dozen Houthi targets in Yemen: Officials

Saudi Arabia says concerned about airstrikes in Yemen, calls for restraint

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