United States and British forces led attacks on eight Houthi targets in Yemen late Monday night local time, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
The strikes on the Iranian-backed rebels were conducted with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands.
“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. The targets included missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, radars, and deeply buried weapons storage facilities,” CENTCOM tweeted.
A senior U.S. military official told CNN that the strikes involved fighter jets that took off from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as surface vessels and a submarine. A total of 25 to 30 precision-guided munitions were fired, including Tomahawk cruise missiles.
CNN reported on Monday that the Pentagon has retroactively dubbed the rounds of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen that began on Jan. 11 “Operation Poseidon Archer.” These strikes are separate from other actions the multinational coalition of 20 countries has been taking since the U.S. announcement of “Operation Prosperity Guardian” in December.
The new name “suggests a more organized, formal, and potentially long-term approach,” according to the CNN report.
CENTCOM added that the strikes “are intended to degrade Houthi capability to continue their reckless and unlawful attacks on U.S. and U.K. ships as well as international commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.”
U.S. identifies Navy SEALS KIA in Gulf of Aden
The U.S. Defense Department on Monday identified two Navy SEALs who died during an operation on Jan. 11 off the coast of Somalia. CENTCOM had announced their deaths on Sunday after an exhaustive 10-day search.
“It’s with a heavy heart today that we announce the deaths of two SEALs, Chris Chambers and Nathan Ingram. They were killed in action in the Gulf of Aden during a ship boarding operation on January 11th,” tweeted Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), himself a former Navy SEAL.
“The vessel was carrying Iranian weapons to the Houthis in Yemen (same Houthis that have been shooting those missiles at US ships lately, disrupting global trade). The seas were rough, and one SEAL went into the water during the boarding. It appears the second went in to rescue his teammate,” Crenshaw continued.
Iran “very directly involved” in Houthi attacks
Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the head of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, told the Associated Press on Monday that Iran is “very directly involved” in the Houthi attacks on commercial shipping interests since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
“What I’ll say is Iran is clearly funding, they’re resourcing, they are supplying and they’re providing training,” said Cooper. “They’re obviously very directly involved. There’s no secret there.”
According to reports, Tehran is supplying the Houthis with tactical intelligence and weapons to assist them with targeting ships in the Red Sea.
He also said that the Houthi attacks “are the most significant that we’ve seen in two generations,” adding that the fact they are striking at global interests has elicited an international response.
IRGC, Hezbollah on the ground in Yemen
Reuters reported on Saturday that commanders from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah are on the ground in Yemen, assisting the Houthis in targeting shipping in the Red Sea.
The news agency cited four regional and two Iranian sources in its report, which also stated that Tehran has increased its weapons supplies to the Houthi rebels since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, which was sparked Hamas’s murderous assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7.
According to the report, Tehran has provided the Houthis with advanced drones, anti-ship cruise missiles, ballistic and medium-range missiles.
On the ground in Yemen, IRGC commanders and advisers are giving the Houthis information on which ships are heading towards Israel to target them, according to Reuters. Iranian commanders have set up a command center in the capital Sanaa for the Red Sea attacks being run by the IRGC commander for Yemen.
Furthermore, the Houthis have also received training in Iran.
“The Revolutionary Guards have been helping the Houthis with military training (on advanced weapons),” an Iranian insider told Reuters. “A group of Houthi fighters were in Iran last month and were trained in an IRGC base in central Iran to get familiar with the new technology and the use of missiles.”