NIn a statement, Sunak confirmed that British Royal Air Force planes launched “in self-defence”, “targeted attacks” against several sites used by the Houthis, in conjunction with US forces.

“Despite repeated warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks in the Red Sea, again this week against British and American warships. This cannot continue,” said the head of Government.

Sunak lamented that the actions of Yemen’s rebels, which he described as irresponsible and destabilizing, are “causing major disruption to a trade route” and causing “prices of raw materials to rise.”

The world’s main shipping companies continue to adjust their routes to avoid transiting this maritime route, through which almost 15% of global maritime trade passes, including 8% of world cereal trade, 12% of oil trade and 8% of global trade in liquefied natural gas.

“The United Kingdom will always defend freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade,” added the British Prime Minister.

The action was taken with “non-operational support” from the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Bahrain, to “degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping”, Sunak added.

Earlier this week, London had announced that a frigate, HMS Richmond, was heading to the Red Sea, where the British warship HMS Diamond was already located, to combat Houthi attacks.

The airstrikes hit Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other cities controlled by Iran-backed rebels, such as Hodeida and Saada, Huti Al-Massirah television channel said today.

In response, the Houthis today launched cruise and ballistic missiles at US and British warships in the Red Sea, a rebel source told Spanish news agency Efe.

These attacks mark the first military response to the 27 drone and missile attacks launched since November 19 against commercial ships by the Houthis, who claim that their attacks aim to stop Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and claim attacks against targets with links to Israel.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday approved a resolution that demanded that the Houthis immediately cease attacks and that implicitly condemned the rebels’ main arms supplier, Iran.

Read Also: After warnings, US and UK (comply and) attack Hutis in Yemen

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