Yemen LIVE: Iran condemns US and UK-led airstrikes on targets used by Houthi rebels – who say their attacks on shipping will continue

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Written By Maya Cantina

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What we know about the Yemen airstrikes

Here are the top details on the airstrikes that hit Houthi-controlled cities in Yemen:

  • Four RAF Typhoon jets set off from RAF Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus
  • Aircraft conducted precision strikes on two Houthi military targets
  • MoD says Paveway IV guided bombs were used for ‘precision strikes’
  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the action was in self-defence
  • US used Tomahawk missiles fired from warships and jets on 12 sites
  • Joe Biden says he would not hesitate to direct further measures
  • Support came from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands
  • It comes after the Houthi rebels’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea

Video of Lord Ricketts speaking about strikes

Lord Ricketts, who served as the UK’s first national security adviser, said the targeted strikes were ‘necessary’. Here is a video of him on BBC Breakfast today:

Sir Keir Starmer calls for Parliament statement

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he wanted Rishi Sunak to make a statement to Parliament on the strikes against the Houthis ‘as soon as possible’.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Sir Keir accepted that any statement to MPs was likely to come on Monday. He said he also wanted a summary of the Government’s legal position to be published.

‘I do want the Prime Minister obviously to make a statement to Parliament as soon as possible because the scope, nature and extent of the operation needs to be explained.’

He told the programme: ‘We are supporting this action.’

The ‘basic case’ for action, the Labour leader said, ‘is one most people pretty readily understand’.

Sir Keir said it was ‘good’ he received a briefing on the military action.

Explainer: How Houthi powderkeg was ignited

Houthi rebels launched attacks on Red Sea shipping after the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists in Israel, exacerbating the already volatile conflict.

The strikes are part of the close Houthi alignment with Iran and its ‘Axis of Resistance’ against Israel. They blame the country for regional instability and the persecution of the Palestinians and vow to continue attacks until the Israeli assault in Gaza ceases.

The roots of the Houthi rebellion date back to the 1990s when they initiated a revival of the Zaydi sect of Shi’ite Islam in northern Yemen.

As friction with the government increased, they engaged in guerrilla wars with the Yemeni army and confronted Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia in a border conflict.

Yemen’s location at the crossroads of the Middle East, overlooking key maritime routes, makes it strategically significant.

Recent peace efforts, facilitated by the United Nations and Saudi Arabia, brought about a period of relative calm in Yemen.

However, the Houthi attacks on Israel have reignited concerns, particularly for Saudi Arabia, increasing the risk of wider conflict in the region.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Osamah Yahya/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (14296794a) Newly recruited Houthi fighters hold up a weapons and chanting slogans in a ceremony at the end of their training in Sanaa, Yemen..The head of Yemen's Houthi movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, has cautioned the United States and its allies about a potentially significant retaliation if they initiate a military strike against his nation..During a televised address on Thursday, Houthi declared that any such response would exceed the scale of the recent attack, in which Yemeni drones and missiles were directed at US and British vessels..''There will be a swift and powerful response to any American attack. Our retaliation will far exceed the impact of the recent strike, which involved twenty drones and multiple missiles.''.''We are committed to targeting Israeli-affiliated ships and will continue to do so without hesitation. Israel-Hamas War 2023: Palestine Solidarity Rally SANAA, Yemen - 11 Jan 2024

Scenes in Sanaa today after airstrikes

This video shows scenes on the streets of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, this morning after the US and UK confirmed they had launched airstrikes:

What weapons are being used in airstrikes?

The Royal Air Force has launched targeted strikes against military facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen.Here is a graphic showing the weapons being used:

Video shows RAF strikes on Houthi facilities

British and American forces rained bombs on Iran-backed rebels in Yemen last night using warships, fighter jets and submarines.

The RAF launched targeted strikes against Houthi military facilities in response to a series of attacks. Here is a video showing some of the strikes:

UK plays down fears over danger of escalation

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey played down concerns about the danger of escalation, after criticism from Russia.

He told BBC Breakfast that ‘allegations of escalation from the Kremlin always ring hollow’. But he conceded that there could be ‘nervousness’ in the region.

‘Over the last few weeks you’ve seen on your TV screens Lord Cameron and Tony Blinken, the UK and US foreign secretaries, engaged in a constant dialogue around the region to make sure we understand fully what the escalatory risks could be and the allies and partners around the region understand what we feel we may need to do if those attacks were to continue.

‘Clearly there is nervousness amongst those partners in the region that there could be some sort of escalation but we were confident that these limited, proportionate, necessary strikes that went in last night were what was necessary to disrupt the Houthis’ ability to attack our warships that are protecting shipping in the southern Red Sea. And clearly nobody should see this as part of anything bigger.’

Breaking: Strikes killed at least five people

A Yemeni rebel Houthi official has just said the US-led strikes on Yemen killed at least five people, wounded six and won’t go ‘unanswered’.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backs strikes

Sir Keir Starmer has said this morning that he supports targeted strikes against Houthi rebels but called for a statement in Parliament ‘at the first opportunity’.

The Labour leader (pictured below in Oldham yesterday), asked if the military action his support, told the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast programme: ‘Yes it does. The Government briefed me in a Cobra secure briefing last night about the action that was going to be taken that now has been taken.

‘Clearly the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have to be dealt with, their attacks on commercial shipping, attacks on important trade routes and putting civilian lives at risk and therefore, we do support this action.

‘I do think there needs to be a statement in Parliament, which isn’t sitting today so it’s for the Government to make sure there’s a statement in Parliament as soon as possible at the first opportunity, to set out the justification, to set out the limits and scope of the operation.

‘I also want to see a summary of the Government’s legal position published as soon as possible, and I would hope that that can be published today.’

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks with students and local residents during a Q and A session at the Manchester Evening News offices in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Picture date: Thursday January 11, 2024. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Government Minister: No more strikes for now

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said that there are no more strikes or military actions planned for the moment.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘There are none immediately planned and that’s an important point. Last night was a limited, proportionate, necessary response in self-defence of our warships in the region who themselves are there to defend commercial shipping and protect the freedom of navigation through the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Southern Red Sea that is so vital to global trade.

He told the programme: ‘The Government’s legal position is sound, it’s based on self-defence. And our reason for being in the region is similarly sound in so much as we need to ensure freedom of navigation through this vital global seaway.’

China: ‘Keep calm and exercise restraint’

China called today for all sides to prevent the Yemen conflict from expanding, after strikes by the US and UK on Huthi rebel targets.

‘China is concerned about the escalation of tensions in the Red Sea,’ foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said. ‘We urge the relevant parties to keep calm and exercise restraint, to prevent the conflict from expanding.’

Beijing stressed that the ‘Red Sea region is an important passage for international logistics and the energy trade’.

‘We hope that the relevant parties can all play a constructive and responsible role in protecting the regional security and stability of the Red Sea, in line with the international community’s shared interests,’ Mao said.

China, she added, urged ‘all parties to jointly maintain the security of international waterways and avoid harassing civilian vessels, as this is detrimental to the global economy and trade.’

FILE PHOTO: China's foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning attends a press conference in Beijing, China July 26, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

Where were the strikes inside Yemen?

This map shows which cities were targeted by airstrikes from the US and UK:

ANKARA, TURKIYE - JANUARY 12: An infographic titled 'US, UK carry out strikes against Houthis inside Yemen' created in Ankara, Turkiye on January 12, 2024. (Photo by Yasin Demirci/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Strikes are ‘necessary’ and ‘inevitable’

Lord Ricketts, who served as the UK’s first national security adviser, has said targeted strikes against Houthi rebels are ‘necessary’ and ‘inevitable’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it became inevitable when the clear warnings that the US and UK and others had put out over weeks were ignored by the Houthis.

‘And I think the final straw was that very complex and dangerous attack on the naval task force itself a couple of nights ago, I think at that point they couldn’t allow this to continue.

‘It’s already having a major disruptive effect on this big maritime artery which carries 20 per cent of all the world’s container traffic, as well as a lot of oil and gas exports, and therefore I think this attack was necessary, I think it was inevitable.

‘I think they’ve tried to make it large enough to send a very powerful message, but equally being clear it’s targeted against the attacks on shipping, it’s not a declaration of war against the Houthis more generally.’

Lord Ricketts: This is not ‘a declaration of war’

Former National Security Adviser Lord Ricketts has spoken to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning about the situation.

He said Britain had tried to ‘send a very powerful message’ with airstrikes against the Houthis – but insisted that it is not ‘a declaration of war’.

RAF Typhoon aircraft returns to RAF Akrotiri

The Ministry of Defence have just put out these images of an RAF Typhoon aircraft returning to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus after striking military targets in Yemen:

An RAF Typhoon aircraft is pictured at RAF Akrotiri following its return after striking military targets in Yemen during the U.S.-led coalition operation, aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea, in Cyprus, in this handout picture released on January 12, 2024. Sgt Lee Goddard/UK MOD/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
An RAF Typhoon aircraft is pictured at RAF Akrotiri following its return after striking military targets in Yemen during the U.S.-led coalition operation, aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea, in Cyprus, in this handout picture released on January 12, 2024. Sgt Lee Goddard/UK MOD/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
An RAF Typhoon aircraft returns to RAF Akrotiri after striking military targets in Yemen during the U.S.-led coalition operation, aimed at the Iran-backed Houthi militia that has been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea, in Cyprus, in this handout picture released on January 12, 2024. Sgt Lee Goddard/UK MOD/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The Liberal Democrats demanded a Commons vote take place before the UK strike on Houthi rebels in Yemen as calls for Parliament to be recalled grows.

Parliament cannot be recalled without the Government asking the Commons Speaker to do so, and such requests are rare.

The Liberal Democrats’ demand was made before the UK and US strikes in against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Read the full story on MailOnline today:

Iran ‘strongly condemns’ attacks on Yemen

Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a statement today that Iran strongly condemns the US-UK attack on Yemen’s Houthis, Nournews reported.

Mr Kanaani said: ‘We strongly condemn the military attacks carried out this morning by the United States and the United Kingdom on several cities in Yemen.

‘We consider it a clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a breach of international laws, regulations, and rights.’

Houthis claim ‘no justification’ for the strikes

The Huthis said there was ‘no justification’ for the airstrikes and warned that attacks on Israel-linked shipping would continue.

‘We affirm that there is absolutely no justification for this aggression against Yemen, as there was no threat to international navigation in the Red and Arabian Seas, and the targeting was and will continue to affect Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine,’ Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam stated.

Houthis: ‘We will confront American aggression’

Australia will continue to support strikes

Australia provided personnel support to the US and UK in their strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen, Defence Minister Richard Marles said this morning.

‘Australia’s support of these actions came in the form of personnel in the operational headquarters,’ Mr Marles told a news conference. ‘Australia will continue to support any actions which assert the global rules-based order.’

Saudi Arabia calls for restraint after airstrikes

Saudi Arabia called for restraint and ‘avoiding escalation’ in light of the airstrikes launched by the United States and Britain against sites linked to the Houthi movement in Yemen, the kingdom’s foreign ministry said today.

Saudi Arabia, which has in recent months engaged in peace talks with Yemen’s Houthis, was closely monitoring the situation with ‘great concern,’ the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on X (see below).

‘The kingdom emphasizes the importance of maintaining the security and stability of the Red Sea region, as the freedom of navigation in it is an international demand,’ the ministry added.

No retaliation from Houthis – yet

US officials have said there has been no retaliatory action by the Houthis yet.

‘While we fully expect this action to diminish the Houthis’ capability and degrade it, and certainly over time to reduce their capacity and propensity to conduct these attacks, we would not be surprised to see some sort of response,’ one official told reporters on a conference call.

High-ranking Houthi official reacts to strikes

A high-ranking Houthi official, Ali al-Qahoum, vowed there would be retaliation.

‘The battle will be bigger – and beyond the imagination and expectation of the Americans and the British,’ he said in a post on X.

Latest Yemen airstrike map

The below map shows the areas in Yemen that were targeted last night

12953789 *LATEST YEMEN AIR STRIKE MAP*

RAF Voyager and Typhoons take off for Yemen

Here is a video showing Voyager and Typhoon aircrafts taking off from RAF Akrotiri before their bombing mission in Yemen:

The Pentagon releases details on airstrikes

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has released a statement detailing the airstrikes.

He said: ‘Today’s strikes targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ unmanned aerial vehicle, ballistic and cruise missile, and coastal radar and air surveillance capabilities.

‘The United States maintains its right to self-defence and, if necessary, we will take follow-on actions to protect US forces.’

He added: ‘We will not hesitate to defend our forces, the global economy, and the free flow of legitimate commerce in one of the world’s vital waterways.’

Grant Shapps: ‘Our duty to protect vessels’

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said on X it was ‘our duty to protect vessels and freedom of navigation’

Guided bombs used for ‘precision strikes’

The Ministry of Defence has sai ‘particular care was taken to minimise any risks to civilians’ when planning the strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

A statement said four RAF Typhoons used Paveway IV guided bombs to ‘conduct precision strikes’ on two targets that had been chosen to ‘reduce the Houthis’ capability to violate international law’.

The statement said: ‘One was a site at Bani in north-western Yemen used to launch reconnaissance and attack drones. A number of buildings involved in drone operations were targeted by our aircraft.

‘The other location struck by our aircraft was the airfield at Abbs. Intelligence has shown that it has been used to launch both cruise missiles and drones over the Red Sea. Several key targets at the airfield were identified and prosecuted by our aircraft.

‘In planning the strikes, particular care was taken to minimise any risks to civilians, and any such risks were mitigated further by the decision to conduct the strikes during the night.

‘The detailed results of the strikes are being assessed, but early indications are that the Houthis’ ability to threaten merchant shipping has taken a blow, and our commitment to protecting the sea-lanes, through which some 15 per cent of the world’s shipping passes and which is vital to the global economy, has been amply demonstrated.’

First photos of RAF Typhoon jets taking off

Four RAF Typhoon jets took off from RAF Akrotiri to join US military aircraft to conduct strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

An RAF Typhoon aircraft takes off to join the US led coalition to conduct air strikes against military targets in Yemen. On Thursday evening, four RAF Typhoons launched from RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes against military targets in Yemen. Houthi rebels have been targeting merchant vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden with missiles and drones - putting lives at risk, threatening the global economy and destabilising the region. On 9 January, HMS Diamond, along with US warships, successfully repelled the largest attack from the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date. Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have increased 500% between November and December. The threat has become so great that major shipping companies have ceased sailing in the region and insurance costs have risen ten-fold since early December.
An RAF Typhoon aircraft takes off to join the US led coalition to conduct air strikes against military targets in Yemen. On Thursday evening, four RAF Typhoons launched from RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes against military targets in Yemen. Houthi rebels have been targeting merchant vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden with missiles and drones - putting lives at risk, threatening the global economy and destabilising the region. On 9 January, HMS Diamond, along with US warships, successfully repelled the largest attack from the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date. Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have increased 500% between November and December. The threat has become so great that major shipping companies have ceased sailing in the region and insurance costs have risen ten-fold since early December.

Houthis say heavy airstrikes pounded cities

Heavy air strikes pounded rebel-held cities in Yemen early on Friday, the Houthi rebels’ official media and AFP correspondents said.

The capital Sanaa, Hodeida and Saada were all targeted, the Houthis’ official media said, blaming ‘American aggression with British participation’

Breaking: Rishi Sunak: ‘We’ve taken action in self-defence’

Rishi Sunak has just released this statement.

He said: ‘The Royal Air Force has carried out targeted strikes against military facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

‘In recent months, the Houthi militia have carried out a series of dangerous and destabilising attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, threatening UK and other international ships, causing major disruption to a vital trade route and driving up commodity prices.

‘Their reckless actions are risking lives at sea and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

‘Despite the repeated warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks in the Red Sea, including against UK and US warships just this week.

‘This cannot stand. The United Kingdom will always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade.

‘We have therefore taken limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence, alongside the United States with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks, to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping.

‘The Royal Navy continues to patrol the Red Sea as part of the multinational Operation Prosperity Guardian to deter further Houthi aggression, and we urge them to cease their attacks and take steps to de-escalate.’

Breaking: Statement from US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden last night said: ‘Today, at my direction, U.S. military forces -together with the United Kingdom and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands – successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways. ‘These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea – including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.

‘These attacks have endangered US personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation. More than 50 nations have been affected in 27 attacks on international commercial shipping.

‘Crews from more than 20 countries have been threatened or taken hostage in acts of piracy. 

‘More than 2,000 ships have been forced to divert thousands of miles to avoid the Red Sea – which can cause weeks of delays in product shipping times. And on January 9, Houthis launched their largest attack to date – directly targeting American ships. ‘The response of the international community to these reckless attacks has been united and resolute.

‘Last month, the United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian – a coalition of more than 20 nations committed to defending international shipping and deterring Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. 

‘We also joined more than 40 nations in condemning Houthi threats. Last week, together with 13 allies and partners, we issued an unequivocal warning that Houthi rebels would bear the consequences if their attacks did not cease.

‘And yesterday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding the Houthis end attacks on merchant and commercial vessels. ‘Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels.

‘These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes.

‘I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.’

US and UK launch airstrikes on Houthi rebels

You can read our full story as the UK and US launch their first bombs on Houthi rebels

US defence official says ‘we hit them hard’

A US defence official is reported to have told Voice of America: ‘We hit them pretty hard, pretty good.’

First unverified photo of explosions in Yemen

These images supposedly showing the moment missiles struck have been shared on X by freelance journalist Ali Al-Sakani.

US and UK bombing ‘more than dozen sites’

The US and the UK are bombing more than a dozen sites, in a massive retaliatory strike using warship-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, several US officials have told the Associated Press.

Associated Press journalists in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, heard four explosions early Friday local time but saw no sign of warplanes.

Two residents of Hodieda, Amin Ali Saleh and Hani Ahmed, said they heard five strong explosions. Hodieda lies on the Red Sea and is the largest port city controlled by the Houthis.

Yemen freelance journalist Ali Al-Sakani said on X, formerly Twitter, locals had told him the strikes were targeting the Houthi positions in Sana’a, Saada, Dhamar and Hudaydah.

Breaking: EXPLOSIONS heard in Yemen

The US and the UK have started bombing Yemen with three explosions heard, reports Reuters.

Three explosions were heard in Yemen’s capital Sana’a

Yemen city on alert and Houthi camps evacuated

Three residents of Yemen’s Hodeidah told news agency Reuters the city has been on alert since Thursday evening, with the heavy deployment of Houthi forces and movement of military trucks.

Houthi military sites and camps in Hodeidah were also being evacuated, they said.

Who are the Houthi rebels taking over Yemen?

The Shia militant group is allied to Tehran, as are Hamas and Hezbollah, and seeks to reduce western influence in the Middle East.

Its slogan includes the words ‘death to America’, ‘death to Israel’ and ‘a curse upon the Jews’.

You can read more about the Houthi rebels below.

Breaking: US Air Force jets seen flying over Saudi Arabia

Air force recon jets were seen flying over Saudi Arabia on Thursday night. The Boeing RC-135 was spotted on Flight24 radar above Riyadh.

Tory MP: ‘Red Sea situation no longer tenable’

Tory MP and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Alicia Kearns says the situation in the Red Sea is no longer tenable.

She released a statement on X, formerly Twitter, with Britain on the brink of launching airstrikes in Yemen.

Airspace around Yemen is completely empty

The image below taken from Flightradar24 shows the airspace around Yemen completely empty ahead of the imminent airstrikes.

US President Joe Biden to make statement

US President Joe Biden is expected to make a statement tonight after the US and UK conduct military strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The strikes are expected shortly with a series of statements from the US, UK and other international leaders to follow, the Times reports.

Both the UK and the US warned there could be consequences if ships are continually targeted in the Red Sea.

Tesla will suspend most car production at its factory near Berlin from Jan. 29 to Feb. 11, the company said on Thursday, citing a lack of components due to shifts in transport routes because of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.

The partial production stop is evidence that the crisis in the Red Sea, unleashed by Iranian-backed Houthi militants attacking vessels in solidarity with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas fighting Israel in Gaza, has hit Europe’s largest economy.

The U.S. electric vehicle maker is the first company to disclose an interruption to output due to the disruption. Many companies including Geely, China’s second-largest automaker by sales, and Swedish home furnishing company Ikea have warned of delays to deliveries.

‘The armed conflicts in the Red Sea and the associated shifts in transport routes between Europe and Asia via the Cape of Good Hope are also having an impact on production in Gruenheide,’ Tesla said in a statement.

Read more from Reuters here:

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has called for a recall of Parliament.

He said: ‘The UK does not have a good record of military intervention in the Middle East.

‘It is therefore incumbent that Westminster is recalled, MPs briefed and allowed to debate and scrutinise any decision to pursue military action that the UK Government is proposing.’

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, also said MPs should be recalled, calling the situation in the Red Sea ‘complex and serious’.

On X, he wrote: ‘Based solely upon media reports this is quite clearly a very complex and serious situation that is developing at speed.

‘It is incumbent upon the UK Government to appraise Parliament as soon as possible and MPs must therefore be recalled to Westminster.’

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden leaves Downing Street

Oliver Dowden, Deputy Prime Minister, has been pictured leaving Downing Street this evening.

United Kingdom, London 11th January 2024: Oliver Dowden, Deputy Prime Minister, leaves the cabinet officet. An Emergency cabinet meeting was called by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen Credit: Ryan Jenkinson / Story Picture Agency

Houthis are ‘merchants of chaos’ and ‘don’t play by the same rules as the rest of us’, maritime security expert says

Maritime security analyst Ian Ralby said Houthi rebels were ‘merchants of chaos’ and ‘don’t play by the same rules as the rest of us’.

He told Sky News: ‘The Houthis are merchants of chaos, and they are really enjoying the attention they are getting.

‘This is a very dangerous moment… [the Houthis] do not play by the same rules as the rest of us.’

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, leaves Downing Street

United Kingdom, London 11th January 2024: Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons leaves Downing Street. An Emergency cabinet meeting was called by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen Credit: Ryan Jenkinson / Story Picture Agency

Iran may try to close Strait of Gibraltar if UK attacks Houthis, Major General Chip Chapman says

Iran may seek to make good on a threat to close the Strait of Gibraltar if the UK retaliates against the Houthi rebel force for drone and missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea, a military expert has warned.

Major General Chip Chapman, a former head of counter-terrorism at the MoD, told GB News: ‘One of the things which could be done…if you take the Houthis as one of their proxy forces [Iran], is that they’ve said that they might close the Strait of Gibraltar.

‘You might say they haven’t got the capability to do that but they’ve also got a proxy force with the Polisario Front in Morocco.

‘So, although it might seem unlikely, it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t happen.’

He added: ‘In essence, this is what the Houthis would say is part of the theatre of war against the Israelis.

‘And from both their perspective and the Iranian perspective that is a unity of fronts and a ring of fire around the Israelis.’

The Government is considering strikes on targets in Yemen in a bid to stop attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday night as the situation appeared to escalate.

A British warship joined three US ships and a French vessel last month in a bid to protect the ships in narrow strip of water between Yemen and east Africa, which is a key trade route, but the attacks have continued.

These are the ships that have been deployed and which others may be sent there following Thursday night’s developments:

Sir Lindsay Hoyle arrives at Cabinet Office

The Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been seen entering the cabinet office in the last 30 minutes where he has been briefed.

‘There are no defensive options left’

Sidharth Kaushal, of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think-tank said ‘it would appear that things are coming to a head’.

There are no defensive options left which will convince these companies to return to the Red Sea and Gulf of Oman. That will require a cessation of hostilities.

Offensive options could include airstrikes on military infrastructure in Yemen. Eight years ago the United States destroyed a Houthi radar station apparently used to coordinate attacks on one of its ships.

Breaking: Stealth jets being readied for action

The Mail understands F-35B Lightning stealth jets based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus are being readied for action.

These aircraft were expected to play a key role in the air strikes likely to target Houthi rocket launcher sites and command and control facilities.

British drones equipped with lethal RX-9 were also primed, it is understood.

(Below is a stock image of a F-35B Lightning Fighter jet)

Image shows an F-35B Lightning Jet creating a vapor cone as it flew past the Aircraft Carrier during flight deck operations which took place over the two days where the Jets conducted vertical landings, take offs, and hot pits (refuelling). Personnel from 617 Squadron, RAF Marham, deployed on board HMS Queen Elizabeth for a number of days in July 2023 for the Aviation Integration Period, in preparation for the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2023 Deployment. RAF Marham is the home of the F-35B Lightning, a 5th Generation, multi-role, stealth fighter. RAF Photographic Competition 2023 Winners: Category D: Peoples Choice Judges Nominations Award: 10 Image title: Vapor Cone Photographer: AS1 Natalie Adams

Why are the Houthis targeting shipping vessels?

The rebels say their assaults are aimed at stopping Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But their targets are increasingly random, raising the risk of a US retaliatory strike on Yemen.

Britain has been moving warships into Red Sea

Britain has been moving its warships into the Red Sea in recent days.

Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond left Gibraltar yesterday amid a build up of forces in the region between Africa and Arabia.

Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, said that the UK and US has to show that ‘enough is enough’ after drones and missiles launched from the Arabian state were shot down by HMS Diamond and American warships.

Sir Keir Starmer to be briefed by the government

Sky News is reporting the Government will brief Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer following the virtual cabinet meeting.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks with students and local residents during a Q and A session at the Manchester Evening News offices in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Picture date: Thursday January 11, 2024. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Breaking: US and UK ‘to carry out military action TONIGHT’

The US and the UK are ready to carry out airstrikes against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen as early as tonight – targeting the ballistic sites where the rebels have been launching missiles.

Lord Cameron: ‘Situation in Red Sea dangerous’

Lord Cameron spoke on Monday about the situation in the Red Sea, which he labelled as ‘extremely dangerous’.

Sunak spoke with Egypt’s President today

Downing Street has just released details of a call Mr Sunak had with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi this afternoon to discuss the rise in Houthi attacks.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the PM told him ‘the UK would continue to take action to defend freedom of navigation and protect lives at sea’.

The two leaders spoke about the rise in Houthi attacks, the spokesperson told The Telegraph, and the disruptive impact on global shipping.

The Prime Minister thanked President Sisi for his continued support on the humanitarian and diplomatic effort in Gaza, including on joint work to secure the release of British hostages and those with links to the UK.

They agreed on the importance of significantly scaling up the aid reaching Palestinians in Gaza to prevent a worsening humanitarian crisis. The Prime Minister said the UK was urging Israel to open more land crossings and to allow in far greater quantities of aid, up to 500 trucks a day.

Houthi attacks could cause Tesco price rise

The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are heavily impacting vessels carrying cargo with shipping companies in response rerouting around South Africa.

Tesco boss Ken Murphy has warned this could create a knock-on effect on the prices of some goods.

Houthis ‘have carried out 27 attacks in Red Sea’

The US Central Command says the Houthis have carried out 27 attacks in the Red Sea since November 19.

They said the rebels’ latest attack came today at around 2am (Yemen time) when they fired an anti-ship ballistic missile ‘from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden’.

One ship saw the missile hit the water. No one was injured and no damage was reported.

Grant Shapps says ‘enough is enough’

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps spoke yesterday about the Houthi’s continued attacks in the Red Sea.

You can hear what he said in the video below.

‘Vital there’s a vote in Parliament’

The UK’s only Palestinian MP Layla Moran says it’s vital there is a vote in Parliament if Britain is planning military action.

Sunak ready to sign off military action

The Cabinet was tonight due to sign off military reprisals against Iranian-backed rebels terrorising shipping in the Red Sea.

Rishi Sunak summoned an emergency meeting of the Cabinet at 7.45pm to brief ministers ahead of expected overnight air strikes against Houthi rebels operating out of Yemen.

Downing Street declined to comment ahead of what is expected to be a significant military operation led by the United States.

But Whitehall sources confirmed that the Prime Minister is ready to sign off military reprisals against the Houthis, who have launched a string of attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea in recent weeks.

The plans were finalised today following meetings of the Prime Minister’s National Security Council and the emergency committee Cobra.

‘Danger we end up in conflict with Iran’

Sir William Patey, the former UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Iraq, has told Sky News the airstrikes could spark a conflict between the UK and Iran.

He told Sophy Ridge.

Ultimately the biggest danger is that we end up in a conflict with Iran because the Houthis are acting here not on their own but agents of Iran.

The West is plotting airstrikes in response to the Houthi rebels attacks in the Red Sea.

David Cameron seen going into Downing Street

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has just been seen walking into No10 Downing Street ahead of the meeting.

United Kingdom, London 11th January 2024: Foreign Secretary, David Cameron arrives in Downing Street for an Emergency cabinet meeting called by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen Credit: Ryan Jenkinson / Story Picture Agency

Rishi Sunak to hold emergency meeting

Hello and welcome to our live coverage as Rishi Sunak is about to hold an emergency meeting with his cabinet.

The Prime Minister is set to plan with members a response to the attacks from the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

A member of media works outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, January 11, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams
Key Updates

  • First photos of RAF Typhoon jets taking off
  • Rishi Sunak: ‘We’ve taken action in self-defence’
  • Statement from US President Joe Biden
  • US and UK launch airstrikes on Houthi rebels
  • US and UK bombing ‘more than dozen sites’
  • EXPLOSIONS heard in Yemen
  • US Air Force jets seen flying over Saudi Arabia
  • US President Joe Biden to make statement
  • Stealth jets being readied for action
  • US and UK ‘to carry out military action TONIGHT’
  • Sunak spoke with Egypt’s President today
  • David Cameron seen going into Downing Street

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Rishi Sunak

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