The United States-led airstrikes on Thursday and Friday against sites in Yemen controlled by the Houthi militia damaged or destroyed about 90 percent of the targets struck, but the group retained about three-quarters of its ability to fire missiles and drones at ships transiting the Red Sea, two U.S. officials said on Saturday.
The damage estimates are the first detailed assessments of the strikes by American and British attack planes and warships against nearly 30 locations in Yemen, and they reveal the serious challenges facing the Biden administration and its allies as they seek to deter the Iran-backed Houthis from retaliating, secure critical shipping routes between Europe and Asia, and contain the spread of regional conflict.
A top U.S. military officer, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of the military’s Joint Staff, said on Friday that the strikes had achieved their objective of damaging the Houthis’ ability to launch the kind of complex drone and missile attack they had conducted on Tuesday.
But the two U.S. officials cautioned on Saturday that even after hitting more than 60 missile and drone targets with more than 150 precision-guided munitions, the strikes had damaged or destroyed only about 20 to 30 percent of the Houthis’ offensive capability, much of which is mounted on mobile platforms and can be readily moved or hidden. [Continue reading…]
The Iran-backed Houthi militia group has continued to attack commercial shipping, hitting an American-owned container ship with a ballistic missile in defiance of a wave of US and UK strikes on Yemen.
The strike against the Marshall Islands-flagged Gibraltar Eagle container ship represented a widening of the theatre of war beyond the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. The strike hit the cargo hold of the ship and while it was thought to have caused no major damage, will add to fears that the US and UK strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen have not degraded the militia group’s ability to threaten commercial shipping.
Qatar became the latest major user of container ships to announce it will not send liquid gas through the Red Sea for the foreseeable future. The level of traffic was said to have dropped markedly overall since the US and UK strikes on Thursday. [Continue reading…]