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U.S., Britain hit dozens of targets in new wave of strikes in Yemen

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U.S. and British forces launched dozens of strikes against Houthi militants in Yemen on Saturday night, U.S. officials said, the latest effort to stop what have become near-daily attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea and nearby waterways.

The strikes mark the largest military action against the Houthis in weeks, though U.S. forces have launched smaller attacks against various targets, such as Houthi missiles prepared to be launched. The new wave, U.S. officials said, was meant to target infrastructure and weapons that the Houthis have used to carry out attacks.

The Pentagon did not immediately release information about the latest strikes.

The military action came at the end of a week in which the Houthis carried out several brazen attacks, including one Feb. 18 that damaged the MV Rubymar, a British-owned vessel that was carrying 41,000 tons of fertilizer, U.S. military officials said in a statement. The attack caused an 18-mile oil slick and forced the crew to abandon the ship. The following day, on Feb. 19, the Houthis struck the MV Sea Champion, a U.S.-owned vessel that was carrying grain to the Yemeni port city of Aden.

The Houthis, a band of militants that seized control of part of Yemen in 2014, have cast their campaign of violence as a response to Israeli military operations in Gaza, and U.S. support of Israel. The group gets weapons and training from Iran, U.S. officials have said, and are part of a broader network of proxy militias on which Tehran has influence.

But the continued cycle of Houthi attacks stands in contrast to the situation in Iraq and Syria, where U.S. forces weathered more than 150 attacks between October and Feb. 4, but are now seeing a relative period of calm. Following the death of three U.S. soldiers in northeastern Jordan on Jan. 28, the Biden administration launched retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Feb. 3, hitting dozens of targets affiliated with Iranian-backed militias it held responsible.

No attacks have occurred against U.S. forces in Iraq, Syria or Jordan since Feb. 4, but the Houthis have continued their own campaign of violence. As of Friday, they had launched at least 57 attacks against commercial shipping since November.

This is a developing story.

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