U.S. and U.K. launch new strikes against Houthi sites in Yemen

The U.S. and British militaries launched a fresh round of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Monday, defense officials said.

The attacks, which were carried out by manned aircraft and ships, were the second round of strikes the two militaries have launched against Houthi sites in Yemen. The last round was on Jan. 11. Since then, the U.S. has struck several Houthi targets on its own to prevent the group from attacking ships in the Red Sea.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the latest operation, which was supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, struck eight Houthi sites in 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, the statement said.

"These 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," the statement added.

U.S. Strikes Hit Yemen's Houthi Rebels (U.S. Central Command / Reuters)
U.S. Strikes Hit Yemen's Houthi Rebels (U.S. Central Command / Reuters)

The Houthis, an Iranian-backed militia group that controls large swaths of territory in Yemen, have launched dozens of attacks against commercial ships and military vessels in the Red Sea in recent months. The group says the strikes are in retaliation for Israel’s bombing of Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The violence has further fueled fears that the conflict in Israel could escalate into a regional war.

The U.S. redesignated the Houthis last week as a terrorist organization, a move designed to cut off funding to the rebel group.

The Biden administration had removed the group from the U.S.' terrorist list shortly after it took office to ease the flow of food, medicine and other aid into strife-torn Yemen.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com