The US and UK bombed the Houthis in new air strikes against the Iranian-backed militia

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US forces carried out a second phase of airstrikes in response to the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan last weekend, this time hitting targets in Yemen where Iran-backed Houthi rebels have wreaked havoc on commercial shipping.

The United States, joined by the United Kingdom, struck 36 Houthi targets in Yemen in 13 locations on Saturday, a day after hitting targets belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq and Syria, according to the Pentagon.

“Our goal remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but let us reiterate our warning to the Houthi leadership: We will not hesitate to continue defending lives and the free flow of trade in one of the world’s most important waterways.” “Confronting continuing threats,” the US, UK and six other countries said in a joint statement.

The statement stated that Saturday's strikes targeted Houthi weapons storage facilities, missile systems, launchers, air defenses and radars. The United States, sometimes working with the United Kingdom, began striking Houthi targets on January 11, but the rebel group has continued its attacks on international shipping.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement, “This collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear more consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international and naval vessels.”

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps denied that the attacks constituted an escalation.

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He added: “Houthi attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea are illegal and unacceptable. It is our duty to protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation.”

Iran and Iraq warned earlier on Saturday that US strikes could lead to further instability across the region.

US President Joe Biden is trying to deter the continued targeting of US service members while avoiding being drawn into a large-scale regional war. Since mid-October, Iranian-backed groups have launched more than 160 attacks on US forces in Iraq, Syria and Jordan.

Last weekend's drone attack on a US military base in Jordan was the first to kill US troops since the war between Israel and Hamas began, raising the risk of escalation.

The United States said it struck 85 targets in 7 locations on Friday. The Iraqi government said on Saturday that 16 people, including civilians, were killed in the attacks. The Syrian army said that “many civilian and military martyrs” were killed, but did not provide any further details.

The United States has also become more involved in the Red Sea, where the Iran-backed Houthis have launched more than 39 attacks on commercial and military ships crossing the vital waterway.

The United States has already launched more than a dozen raids in Yemen to deter the Houthis from launching further attacks, which the rebel group says will continue as long as Israel attacks Gaza.

The latest strike against Houthi targets occurred earlier on Saturday when the US military struck six anti-ship cruise missiles that it said were preparing to launch against ships in the Red Sea.

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Washington blamed last weekend's drone attack on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a shadowy umbrella group believed to include Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi Shiite militia, as well as other militants who have claimed responsibility for attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria. .

The Islamic Republic of Iran is part of the so-called Iranian Resistance Axis, a network of armed groups that includes the Houthis in northern Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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