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US airstrikes live: Fresh strikes on Houthi anti-ship missiles as America refuses to rule out Iran targets

Pentagon knows who’s responsible for Jordan drone attack

The United States conducted fresh strikes against a Houthi land attack cruise missile on 4 February, according to the US Central Command.

On X/Twitter, Centcom announced that “on Feb 4, at approximately 5.30am (Sanaa time), US Central Command forces conducted a strike in self-defence against a Houthi land attack cruise missile”.

It added: “Beginning at 10.30am, US forces struck four anti-ship cruise missiles, all of which were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.”

Earlier, the US refused to rule out airstrikes inside Iran, saying it is determined to respond forcefully to attacks on troops.

National security advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that he wouldn’t get into what’s “on and off the table” when it came to striking inside Iran but that president Joe Biden “is determined to respond forcefully to attacks on our people”.

However, the administration official played down fears that the situation is escalating. Iraqi officials warned this weekend that the region was on the “brink of the abyss” after the airstrikes.

His words come after the US and UK, supported by six allied countries, struck at least 36 Houthi targets in Yemen just hours after the US conducted retaliatory airstrikes on more than 85 sites in Iraq and Syria due to the killing of three American soldiers in Jordan.

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US conducts fresh strikes on Houthi cruise missiles in Yemen

US conducted fresh strikes against Houthi cruise missiles on 4 February, according to US Central Command.

On X/Twitter, Centcom announced that “on Feb. 4, at approximately 5.30am (Sanaa time), US Central Command forces conducted a strike in self-defense against a Houthi land attack cruise missile.”

It added: “Beginning at 10.30am, US forces struck four anti-ship cruise missiles, all of which were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea.”

US forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and “determined they presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region”.

“These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels.”

Maroosha Muzaffar5 February 2024 03:54

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ICYMI: Australia, Bahrain and Canada among nations supporting strikes against Houthis

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said the military action, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand, “sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels”.

He added: “We will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”

The UK, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles and Spain have joined the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian, which aims to protect international shipping in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Ariana Baio5 February 2024 05:00

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Editorial: The ‘forever war’ in the Middle East will go on until Palestinians have their own state

US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria were inevitable – the question now is how to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from merging into a larger crisis that affects the whole region:

Maroosha Muzaffar5 February 2024 04:45

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Moment RAF jets take off to conduct further strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

RAF Typhoon aircraft took off to conduct further strikes against Houthi targets on Saturday, 3 February.

The UK has joined the US for a third time in further strikes in a bid to prevent further attacks on international shipping along a major trade route.

Strikes were against Houthi locations in Yemen involved in the campaign targeting the southern Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab, the Ministry of Defence said.

Fresh assaults were “not an escalation” but were designed to “protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation” in the Red Sea, defence secretary Grant Shapps said.

Moment RAF jets take off to conduct further strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

RAF Typhoon aircraft took off to conduct further strikes against Houthi targets on Saturday, 3 February. The UK has joined the US for a third time in further strikes in a bid to prevent further attacks on international shipping along a major trade route. Strikes were against Houthi locations in Yemen involved in the campaign targeting the southern Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab, the Ministry of Defence said. Fresh assaults were “not an escalation” but were designed to “protect innocent lives and preserve freedom of navigation” in the Red Sea, defence secretary Grant Shapps said.

Maroosha Muzaffar5 February 2024 04:00

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What to know about the situation in the Middle East this week

The United States and Britain have struck Iran-backed armed groups in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, while Israel presses ahead with its offensive against Hamas in Gaza. Here is what to know about what is happening in the region now, and why:

US ATTACKS ON GROUPS BACKED BY IRAN

On Friday, the U.S. struck Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the killing of three American soldiers at a U.S. base on the Syria-Jordan border. At the same time, Washington emphasized that it doesn’t want to escalate the conflict with Iran into outright war.

WHY THE US IS IN THE REGION

U.S. troops maintain a presence in the area to fight the Islamic State group. They returned to Iraq in 2014 after the extremists overran much of the country’s north and started a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis, a religious minority. U.S. forces are also present in Syria, where they work with Kurdish-led fighters to keep pressure on IS, as well as in Jordan, a long-standing Western ally. The U.S. rushed additional warships to the region after Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the start of the war in Gaza to deter Iran and its clients from further escalation.

THE WAR IN GAZA IS AT THE HEART OF IT ALL

All these events are linked to the war in Gaza, which began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel. Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped around 250 that day. Israel responded with an air and ground campaign that has so far killed over 27,000 Palestinians.

STRIKES ON YEMEN’S HOUTHI REBELS OVER RED SEA ATTACKS

Separately, American and British forces have repeatedly struck Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are also backed by Iran. This was in response to persistent Houthi missile and drone attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

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Editorial: The ‘forever war’ in the Middle East will go on until Palestinians have their own state

The US response to the attack in Jordan has certainly been stronger and over a wider area than expected. The Pentagon claimed to have hit 85 targets in Syria and Iraq, and the death toll has been at least 10 times that in the original strike. Whether that is a necessary and proportionate response is impossible to judge at this stage. We would, however, tend towards scepticism, given the need for a US president in an election year to look as if he is responding vigorously to threats to American interests around the world.

Read more from The Independent’s editorial:

Ariana Baio5 February 2024 01:00

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Watch: White House refuses to rule out striking inside Iran

White House refuses to rule out striking inside Iran

Ariana Baio4 February 2024 23:00

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Iraq calls airstrikes ‘blatant aggression’

A spokesperson for the Iraqi government conedmnened the US’s airstrikes targeting the Popular Mobilization Forces, calling it an act of “blatant aggression.”

“This aggressive airstrike will push the security situation in Iraq and the region to the brink of the abyss,” Basim Alawadi said.

“We assert that the presence of the international coalition, which deviated from its assigned tasks and granted mandate, has become a reason for endangering security and stability in Iraq. It also serves as a justification for entangling Iraq in regional and international conflicts,” Mr Alawadi said.

Ariana Baio4 February 2024 22:00

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What’s going in the Red Sea?

Crews extinguished a fire on board a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel on Saturday after it was struck by a Houthi anti-ship missile in the Gulf of Aden, according to commodities trader Trafigura. It is the latest of more than 30 Houthi attacks in the past three months.

The Islamist group claims it is striking the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which is a narrow strip of sea between Yemen and east Africa that is a key international trade route, in a bid to end Israel’s air and ground offensive against Hamas.

President Joe Biden, speaking after the first round of strikes, said they were a “direct response” to an onslaught of attacks on Red Sea ships which “jeopardised trade, and threatened freedom of navigation”.

Alexander Butler, Tom Watling4 February 2024 21:30

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Catch up with the news: Everything we know about the US strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq

The US strikes appeared to stop short of directly targeting Iran or senior leaders of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force within its borders in an effort to prevent the conflict from escalating further.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports:

Ariana Baio4 February 2024 21:00


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