Defiant Houthis launch missiles during military drill in Yemen amid escalating attacks on Red Sea shipping: Middle East crisis reaches boiling point with American threatening MORE airstrikes after bombing Syria and Iraq

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Houthis troopers seen launching rockets and firing at positions with Israeli flags 
  • Military exercises seen just hours after American airstrike on Iraq and Syria 
  • The strikes were in retaliation for last week’s fatal drone attack on US troops 

Houthi troopers were seen defiantly launching rockets and firing at positions marked with Israeli flags while on military exercise  just hours after America launched a devastating wave of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, in retaliation for last week’s fatal drone attack on US troops.

The Houthi rebels were seen on Saturday on the outskirts of Sana’a, Yemen, preparing for a possible confrontation with the United States and Israel amid fears of a wider regional conflict stemming from their escalation of attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

In January 2024, the US Department of State designated Yemen’s Houthis as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist group’ due to their increased attacks on commercial ships and US warships in the Red Sea with drones and ballistic missiles. 

In response, US and British forces have conducted strikes against the rebels as part of a multinational operation to safeguard trade and protect ships in the Red Sea.

On Saturday, the rebels practiced manoeuvres from their heavily-armoured vehicles, with Palestinian flags and Yemen flags flying side by side, in pictures released by the Houthis.

Houthi troopers were seen defiantly launching rockets and firing at positions marked with Israeli flags while on military exercise just hours after America launched a devastating wave of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

Clouds of dust and smoke rose from the desert landscape as missiles and bullets were fired by the rebels at mock positions on the outskirts of Sana'a, Yemen

Clouds of dust and smoke rose from the desert landscape as missiles and bullets were fired by the rebels at mock positions on the outskirts of Sana’a, Yemen

One photograph captured the potentially deadly devastation caused by the weapons, with the mock targets bursting into flames

One photograph captured the potentially deadly devastation caused by the weapons, with the mock targets bursting into flames

Clouds of dust and smoke rose from the desert landscape as missiles and bullets were fired by the rebels at mock positions. 

One photograph captured the potentially deadly devastation caused by the weapons, with the mock targets bursting into flames. 

Another showed a structure adorned with the flag of Israel as a mock target for the rebels to strike. 

The militants, dressed in army fatigues, are seen are thrusting their hands in the air as the target is struck by their weaponry. 

The rebels practiced manoeuvres from their heavily-armoured vehicles, with Palestinian flags and Yemen flags flying side by side,

The rebels practiced manoeuvres from their heavily-armoured vehicles, with Palestinian flags and Yemen flags flying side by side,

This image shows a structure adorned with the flag of Israel as a mock target for the rebels

This image shows a structure adorned with the flag of Israel as a mock target for the rebels 

The well-equipped Houthi rebels were also seen practicing military moves with large tanks

The well-equipped Houthi rebels were also seen practicing military moves with large tanks

A Houthi militant looks out from a fortified position built from rocks in the desert on Saturday

A Houthi militant looks out from a fortified position built from rocks in the desert on Saturday

A target with the flags of Britain, Israel and the United States is seen amid an explosion

A target with the flags of Britain, Israel and the United States is seen amid an explosion

The Houthi rebels practiced their moves in the remote area of Sana'a in Yemen on Saturday

The Houthi rebels practiced their moves in the remote area of Sana’a in Yemen on Saturday

A missile appears to take off during the military exercise targeting mock US and Israeli targets

A missile appears to take off during the military exercise targeting mock US and Israeli targets

A fleet of drones take off through the skies while operators watch on from the ground nearby

A fleet of drones take off through the skies while operators watch on from the ground nearby

Another photograph appears to show tanks moving through the desert, ready to strike their next target, while one soldier builds a fortified structure out of rocks from which to shoot his weapon. 

Meanwhile, targets decorated with Israeli, British and American flags are seen at the moment of being struck by a weapon and bursting into flames. 

The scale of the well-armoured rebels is made clear with other images showing missiles launching and a fleet of drones taking off through the skies while operators watch on from the ground nearby.

The military exercises come just hours after the US launched airstrikes on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and militants in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops. 

The U.S. has launched a devastating wave of airstrikes on Iran 's Revolutionary Guard in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops

The U.S. has launched a devastating wave of airstrikes on Iran ‘s Revolutionary Guard in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops

Multiple long-range bombers and drones hit 85 targets with 125 bombs over 30 minutes in the widespread military operation on Friday night ordered by President Joe Biden.

As explosions rang out across the Middle East, the president said the payback strikes will continue ‘at times and places of our choosing’ and warned militias: ‘If you harm an American, we will respond’.

Two B-1- bombers flew from the U.S. for the mission hitting seven facilities – three and Iraq and four in Syria – linked to the IRGC and Iran-backed militias.

The targets included command and intelligence centers and warehouses where missiles and drones were stored.

Shocking footage from Al-Qaim, an Iraqi border town, showed rockets flying from a munitions factory believed to have been hit by American bombers at midnight local time. 

Shocking footage from Al-Qaim, an Iraqi border town, showed rockets flying from a munitions factory believed to have been hit by American bombers at midnight local time

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said at least 18 pro-Iranian fighters were killed in eastern Syria and Iraq called the strikes a ‘violation of sovereignty’. 

The huge operation is the first from the U.S. striking back after Iran-backed militias’ deadly strike on the Tower 22 base near Jordan’s border with Syria and Iraq last Sunday.

Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23, were killed and more than 40 troops were injured in the attack that sparked further tensions in the Middle East. 

Biden ordered the strikes just hours after he attended the dignified transfer ceremony for their remains at Dover Air Force Base. 

He held his hand over his heart as he watched their flag-draped coffins being carried across the tarmac after arriving back on home soil.

A short time after the solemn ceremony finished, he authorized the huge response he has threatened for days. 

‘This past Sunday, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),’ Biden said on Friday. 

‘Earlier today, I attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base, and I have spoken with each of their families. 

‘This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces. 

‘Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing. The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. 

‘But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.’

It’s unclear what the next steps will be or when they will take place, or whether the days of U.S. warnings have sent militia members scattering into hiding.

But the recent statement released by Kataeb Hezbollah, one of the main Iran-backed militias, saying it was suspending attacks on American troops had no impact on the administration’s plans to retaliate. 

Two B-1- bombers flew from the U.S. for the mission hitting seven facilities - three and Iraq and four in Syria - linked to the IRGC and Iran-backed militias

Two B-1- bombers flew from the U.S. for the mission hitting seven facilities – three and Iraq and four in Syria – linked to the IRGC and Iran-backed militias

National Security Council John Kirby said earlier in the week response to the deadly drone strike will be ‘tiered’ and could ‘potentially include multiple actions over a period of time.’

After the strikes, he said: ‘These targets were chosen to degrade and disrupt the capabilities of the IRGC and the groups that they sponsor and support. 

‘The goal here is to get these attacks to stop. We’re not looking for a war with Iran’.

Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia died in the drone strike of a US airbase in Jordan

Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, was among three US soldiers killed in the drone strike

Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia  (left) and Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, died in the drone strike of a US airbase in Jordan

Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia was identified as one of the soldiers killed in the weeekend drone strike

Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia has been identified as one of the soldiers killed in the drone strike 

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