Yemen LIVE: Rishi Sunak defends ‘necessary’ Yemen airstrikes also backed by Keir Starmer amid backlash from Russia which claims attacks were ‘irresponsible’

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Written By Maya Cantina

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Breaking: US-British air strikes on Houthi forces had ‘good effects’: Pentagon

  • US-British strikes on Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen had ‘good effects,’ Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder has said, and their militaries will continue to monitor the situation for any retaliatory strikes.
  • There are currently no plans to send additional US troops to the region, Ryder said in an interview with CNN.
  • ‘Our initial assessment is that we had good effects,’ he said. ‘We will continue to monitor and as the president and (Defense) Secretary Austin have said, we will continue to take necessary action.’
  • Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, who was hospitalized on January 1 to treat an infection, was in good condition, had spoken twice to President Joe Biden in the last two days and had been ‘actively engaged in overseeing and directing these strikes.’
  • Asked about worries that conflict in the region might escalate, Ryder said the US continues to work to contain the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
  • The Houthi militants’ attacks on commercial shipping in the vital Red Sea waterway has affected more than 50 countries, Ryder noted, and the United States and its allies see the actions as distinct from what is happening in Gaza.
  • ‘No one wants to see a wider regional conflict. But again, we also cannot allow for this kind of dangerous, reckless behavior,’ he said.

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

Strikes are not part of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Pentagon says

  • The strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen are not part of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Pentagon has insisted.
  • Spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder said the strikes are ‘targeted’ on the Iran-backed rebel group.
  • He added that the strikes are specifically aimed at stopping Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

He told US broadcaster CBS:

You have the Houthi rebels that are conducting industry attacks against international shipping – over 50 countries have been affected by this, affecting the economic prosperity of multiple nations. So this is not part of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

PICTURED: Houthi supporters in Yemen set fire to US and Israeli flags

  • Tens of thousands of Houthi supporters have gathered in Yemen.
  • Many are toting guns and shouting anti-US and anti-Israel chants.
  • Pictures have also shown American and Israeli flags being burned.
People gather near burning Israeli and U.S. flags, as supporters of the Houthi movement rally to denounce air strikes launched by the U.S. and Britain on Houthi targets, in Sanaa, Yemen January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
People gather near burning Israeli and U.S. flags, as supporters of the Houthi movement rally to denounce air strikes launched by the U.S. and Britain on Houthi targets, in Sanaa, Yemen January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Breaking: Combined Maritime Forces warns ships to avoid Bab al-Mandab Strait near Red Sea

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has warned all ships to ‘stay well away from Bab al-Mandab’ near the Red Sea, tanker body INTERTANKO said in a note circulated to its members.

  • ‘The threat period for shipping is expected to last for several days,’ the note, seen by Reuters, said.
  • CMF is a multinational maritime partnership led by the U.S. from Bahrain, the base for the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet. CMF has 39 members, including NATO and European states, regional countries and other nations.
  • INTERTANKO represents the greater part of the world’s independent tanker fleet, with about 185 independent member companies encompassing more than 4,000 vessels.

IN PICTURES: Protests in Yemen over UK and US airstrikes on Houthi rebels’ territory

REPORT: Houthis would need a ‘lucky strike’ to damage UK or US warships using their arsenal of missiles and drones, military experts say after Iran-backed rebels warned West will ‘pay a heavy price’ for Yemen bombing

Furious Houthi rebels today vowed to make the UK and US ‘pay a heavy price’ for bombing their territories in Yemen – but they would need to rely on a ‘lucky strike’ on coalition ships if they were to do any real damage, military experts have said.

British and American fighter jets and warships launched more than 100 missiles at over 60 targets in Houthi-held territory in Yemen, with the strikes hitting an airbase, airports and a military camp in a dramatic escalation of the war in the Middle East.

In response, Houthi rebel leaders have vowed to retaliate and warned the UK and US they must ‘prepare to pay a heavy price’ with their response set to ‘be beyond the imagination’ of the West.

Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, and Charlie Herbert, a former British Army General, told MailOnline that the rebels will only be capable of ‘responding with more of the same’ in terms of firing drones and missiles at ships.

Read the full report by clicking the link below.

  • The US electric vehicle maker is the first company to disclose an interruption to output due to the current unrest in the Red Sea.

Read the full story here:

Oil prices rise 4 per cent after strikes

  • The price of oil spiked 4 per cent this morning following the UK and US strikes against the Houthis in Yemen.
  • It comes amid fears of major disruption to world trade caused by unrest in the Red Sea.
  • Around 12 per cent of the seaborne-traded oil passes through the route.

Sunak: Yemen strikes sent ‘strong signal to Houthis’

  • Rishi Sunak says that Britain sent a ‘strong signal’ to Yemen’s Houthis that their attacks in the Red Sea cannot be carried out with ‘impunity’.

We need to send a strong signal that this breach of international law is wrong. People can’t act like this with impunity and that’s why together with allies we’ve decided to take this action.

Iran must reign in its proxies, NATO warns

  • Iran has a ‘special responsibility to reign in its proxies’, NATO has warned.
  • A spokesperson said the US-led strikes were aimed at protecting shipping through the Red Sea and urged Iran to ‘rein in its proxies’.
  • ‘These strikes were defensive, and designed to preserve freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways. The Houthi attacks must end,’ Dylan White, a spokesman for the Western military alliance, said.

WATCH: US and UK fighter jets launch retaliatory airstrikes against Houthi rebels

Rishi Sunak says strikes ‘will degrade capabilities of the Houthis’

  • Rishi Sunak said on Friday he believed the strikes by Britain and the US on Houthi military targets in Yemen will degrade the capability of the Iran-backed group.
  • ‘We’ve carried out a series of strikes together with allies, which will, we believe, degrade and disrupt the capability – the types of things that we’ve targeted – are launch sites for missiles and for drones,’ Sunak told reporters during a visit to Ukraine (pictured below).
  • ‘Initial indications are that those strikes have been successful… Our aim is very clear, it’s to de-escalate tensions and restore stability to the region,’ he added.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets firefighters ahead of meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce a major new package of military aid to Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 12, 2024. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

No10 rejects claims that strikes were ‘disproportionate’

Number 10 has rejected criticism that the strikes against the Houthis were not proportionate. A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said:

We wouldn’t agree with that. This was limited and targeted strikes in response to aggression. We acted in self defence in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Turkey says British and US strikes on Houthis ‘disproportionate’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday slammmed the U.S. and British strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen as a disproportionate use of force and accused the two countries of trying to turn the Red Sea into a ‘sea of blood’.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul after Friday prayers, Erdogan said Ankara was hearing from various channels that Houthi forces were carrying out a ‘successful defence’ against the United States and Britain.

Tesco is temporarily halting most production at its German factory because of attacks in the Red Sea. Read the full story from DailyMail.com’s Paul Farrell here:

Germany in ‘close contact with our partners’

Germany is in close contact with its partners, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday, following strikes carried out by the United States and Britain against Houthi military targets in Yemen.

‘You can assume that we are in close contact with our partners,’ the spokesperson said when asked about the strikes at a press conference in Berlin, adding that they came as no surprise.

Four oil tankers diverted from the Red Sea

At least four oil tankers have diverted course from the Red Sea since overnight strikes by the US and Britain on Houthi targets in Yemen, shipping data from LSEG and Kpler showed.

The attacks were carried out from the air and sea in response to the Iranian-backed Houthi militia’s attacks on ships in the Red Sea, in what is becoming a regional escalation of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Oman voices concerns about airstrikes

Oman’s Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi has said today that the US-British attack on targets in Yemen went against his country’s advice and will only add fuel to an extremely dangerous situation.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Oman's Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi attend a joint press conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia July 11, 2023. Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool via REUTERS

Breaking: Nato: Attacks to protect shipping

Nato today said the US-led strikes on Yemen’s Huthis were aimed at protecting shipping through the Red Sea and urged Iran to ‘rein in its proxies’.

‘These strikes were defensive, and designed to preserve freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways. The Huthi attacks must end,’ Dylan White, a spokesman for the Western military alliance, said.

MARK ALMOND writes: We wake to news that the RAF and our American allies are pummelling Houthi strongholds across Yemen in a series of devastating airstrikes.

For weeks, the bloodthirsty Yemeni militia has been attacking Western shipping in the region, disrupting international supply chains and causing millions if not billions of dollars’ worth of damage to the global economy.

After the group’s leaders ignored repeated warnings from western leaders to stop their assaults, and following an emergency Cobra meeting convened by the Prime Minister last night, hellfire explosions have rocked Yemen. The death toll is certain to be high. But what is the prospect of success?

Read his full analysis on MailOnline here:

Kremlin condemns ‘illegitimate’ airstrikes

The Kremlin today condemned what it said were ‘illegitimate’ strikes by the US and Britain on Iran-backed Huthis in Yemen.

‘We condemn them,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding: ‘From the point of view of international law, they are illegitimate.’

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 25: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov leaves the Summit of Eurasian Economic Union, December 25, 2023 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Leaders of five post-Soviet states - Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have arrived to the Summit. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)

Italy declined to take part in airstrikes

Italy declined to take part in US and British strikes overnight against the Houthi group in Yemen, a government source said today, explaining that Rome preferred to pursue a ‘calming’ policy in the Red Sea.

The source, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, also said the government would have needed parliamentary backing to take part in any military action, making swift approval impossible.

Earlier this week, Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said that the Houthi attacks had to be stopped without triggering a new war in the region.

The United States and other countries last month launched Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect civilian vessels in the busy Red Sea.

Italy announced in December it would send a naval vessel to the area following requests for back-up from ship owners, but it did not sign up to the US-led mission, with other EU allies also appearing to distance themselves from the initiative.

Mr Crosetto said Italy would have needed parliamentary approval for its involvement in a new international naval mission, complicating any eventual adherence.

Speaker ‘happy to facilitate’ Parliament recall

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said he is ‘happy to facilitate’ a recall of Parliament ‘at any time’ amid calls for greater consultation of MPs on British military action against Houthi rebel bases in Yemen.

With the Commons having finished business for the week yesterday, MPs will currently be unable to debate the strikes until Monday.

Sir Lindsay said: ‘I was invited to a meeting at the Cabinet Office last night to be briefed about the air strikes on Houthi rebel bases.

‘I made representations to the Deputy Prime Minister about the need for the House to be informed at the earliest possible opportunity and that I would be happy to facilitate a recall at any time.’

Tesla halts production at German factory

Tesla has just said it will be temporarily halting most production at its German factory because of attacks in the Red Sea, a vital global shipping corridor.

The electric vehicle maker said in a statement last night that its factory near Berlin, which makes Model Y vehicles and batteries, will pause from January 29 to February 11.

It’s a fresh sign of how the hostilities in the Mideast are disrupting global manufacturing supply chains, with shipping companies reporting that they’re being forced to reroute vessels carrying goods and components on the longer route around the southern tip of Africa. Analysts say the detour adds 10 days or more to the journey.

‘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 affecting production in Grünheide,’ Tesla said. ‘The significantly longer transport times create a gap in the supply chains.’

Tesla said normal operations are expected to resume on February 12. The factory in Grünheide, south-east of Berlin, is Tesla’s first in Europe. It opened in 2022 and employs 11,000 workers.

Belgium concerned over ‘danger for stability’

Belgium is working with its partners in the European Union and the United States to restore security in the Red Sea region and avoid any spillover, Belgium’s foreign minister Hadja Lahbib said on X today.

‘The ongoing attacks by the Houthis are a real danger for the stability of the region and represent an escalation that benefits no one,’ she posted on the social media platform.

Breaking: Hamas warns of ‘repercussions’ after strikes

Hamas warned today of ‘repercussions’ following US and British strikes on Yemen’s Houthis.

‘We vigorously condemn the flagrant American-British attack on Yemen. We hold them responsible for the repercussions on regional security,’ Hamas said on Telegram.

Maersk hopes for ‘lowered threat environment’

Maersk said today it hopes international interventions and a larger naval presence in the Red Sea will eventually lead to maritime commerce to resume through the strait.

‘We hope that these interventions and a larger naval presence will eventually lead to a lowered threat environment allowing maritime commerce to transit through the Red Sea and once again return to using the Suez Canal as a gateway,’ Maersk said in an statement.

Shipping companies have redirected vessels away from the Red Sea around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope after Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen stepped up attacks on vessels in the Gulf region to show their support for Hamas fighting Israel in Gaza.

FILE PHOTO: Container vessel Maersk Hangzhou sails in the Wielingen channel, Westerschelde, Netherlands July 15, 2018. Rene van Quekelberghe/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY/File Photo

Jordan puts blame on Israeli ‘war crimes’

Jordan said today that Israeli ‘war crimes’ against Palestinians were to blame for heightened regional tension and violence in the Red Sea which it said threatened to ignite a wider war in the Middle East.

Israel, which has been fighting Hamas in the Gaza Strip since October , has denied allegations that it has committed war crimes.

But Jordanian Foreign Minster Ayman Safadi said the international community had failed to act to stop Israeli ‘aggression’ against Palestinians which was endangering the region’s security.

‘The Israeli aggression on Gaza and its continued committing of war crimes against the Palestinian people and violating international law with impunity are responsible for the rising tensions witnessed in the region,’ Mr Safadi said in remarks carried by state media.

Israel has said its forces abide by international law while fighting Palestinian militants in Gaza who operate in densely populated civilian areas.

FILE PHOTO: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi looks on during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during Blinken's week-long trip aimed at calming tensions across the Middle East, in Amman, Jordan, January 7, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

Strikes aimed at restoring ‘stability in Red Sea’

The UK, US and eight allies said today that their joint air strikes on rebel targets in Yemen were aimed at restoring ‘stability in the Red Sea’.

‘Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but let our message be clear: we will not hesitate to defend lives and ensure the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,’ the governments of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, UK, and the US said in a joint statement.

Where were US and UK attacks in Yemen?

The Ministry of Defence said four Royal Air Force jets struck two Houthi facilities involved in their targeting of HMS Diamond and US Navy vessels on Tuesday.

One was a site at Bani and the other the Abbs airfield, used to launch drones and cruise missiles.

The US Air Force said it struck more than 60 targets at 16 sites in Yemen. Here is a map showing the areas that were targeted:

12953789 *LATEST YEMEN AIR STRIKE MAP*

Hopes were raised that Britain can escape a full-blown recession today as the economy grew by more than expected in November.

GDP rose by 0.3 per cent in November, better than the 0.2 per cent analysts had pencilled in and largely offsetting a 0.3 per cent fall in October.

However, there are fears that the Red Sea crisis could derail progress, with the UK and US launching strikes on Iran-backed forces in Yemen overnight.

Here’s the full story from MailOnline’s political editor James Tapsfield:

UN Security Council emergency meeting

Russia has requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the strikes.

France, the current council president, said it will take place this afternoon.

Russia also called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday to discuss the issue.

Maria Zakharova (pictured below), Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said: ‘The US air strikes on Yemen are another example of the Anglo-Saxons’ perversion of UN Security Council resolutions.’

She added that the strikes showed a ‘complete disregard for international law’ and were ‘escalating the situation in the region’.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 14 : (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT -

How many explosions were heard in Yemen?

Associated Press (AP) journalists in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, heard four explosions early this morning local time.

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

Eyewitnesses who spoke with the AP also said they saw strikes in Taiz and Dhamar, cities south of Sanaa.

Below is a grab from footage taken from an RAF Typhoon over Yemen overnight:

Footage taken from an RAF Typhoon PoOD over Yemen, showing a targeted strike. Royal Air Force FGR4 Typhoons have returned to RAF Akrotiri after conducting precision strikes against two Houthi military targets in Yemen.Four RAF Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker therefore used Paveway IV guided bombs to conduct precision strikes on two of these Houthi facilities. 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 th

The Yemen crisis could lead to a rise in the cost of oil, gas and supermarket staples – with delays expected to popular consumer goods including shoes and furniture.

Liberal Democrats wants retrospective vote

The Liberal Democrats have called for a retrospective vote on the military action in the Red Sea and called for MPs to be recalled to Parliament.

The party’s foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said: ‘Parliament should not be bypassed. Rishi Sunak must announce a retrospective vote in the House of Commons on these strikes, and recall Parliament this weekend.

‘We remain very concerned about the Houthis’ attacks. But that makes it all the more important to ensure that MPs are not silenced on the important issue of military action.’

Rishi Sunak has defended ‘limited and necessary’ bombing of Yemen today amid fears Iran-backed raids on shipping could have crippled the economy.

The PM insisted the UK and US – along with allies including Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands – had no choice about acting to counter the escalating problems in the Red Sea.

Here’s the full story from MailOnline’s political editor James Tapsfield:

How crisis risks pushing up prices for Britons

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, has been analysing what the Red Sea crisis means for the price of goods in Britain.

She told MailOnline this morning: ‘Inflationary risks are front and centre again, as the US and the UK and their coalition allies strike targets in Yemen, amid warnings from major companies that shipping delays could see prices ramp up.

‘While the military action is aimed at incapacitating Houthi rebel units and limiting attacks on shipping, which has caused such widespread disruption, there is concern that it could lead to a wider escalation of conflict in the Middle East.’

Ms Streeter also said that oil prices have climbed sharply following the attacks, with Brent Crude now around 7 per cent higher since early December, before Houthi rebels began targeting ships in the Red Sea.

She added that reports coinciding with the US-UK military action suggest the British government is modelling scenarios which could see prices rise by $10 a barrel, if the Red Sea crisis continues, with gas prices at risk of going up by 25 per cent.

Furious Houthi forces have vowed to retaliate to a scale ‘beyond the imagination’ of the West after heavy UK and US air strikes pounded targets across rebel-held areas of Yemen overnight.

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have now vowed to respond to the attacks they claim have killed at least five fighters, with leaders saying the UK and US must ‘prepare to pay a heavy price’ for their ‘blatant aggression’.

Here is the full story from MailOnline senior reporter Rachael Bunyan:

How red sea shipping crisis could hit imports

Attacks by militants on vessels in the Red Sea could cause oil prices to surge and filter through to higher costs for consumers in Britain, as this graphic shows:

Keir Starmer today gave Labour’s backing to military strikes in Yemen, overriding his own Hard left backbenchers.

The opposition leader said that Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping had to be ‘dealt with’ because they were putting shipping and lives at risk, in the wake of UK and US raids on the Arabian state.

Read the full story from MailOnline’s deputy political editor David Wilcock:

Explainer: What led up to attacks in Yemen?

When US and UK warships and aircraft launched waves of missiles at Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen today in Sanaa, it capped weeks of warnings to the group to cease their drone and missile attacks against commercial vessels in the Red Sea or face severe consequences.

Previously the US had withheld striking back, reflecting larger US concerns about upending the shaky truce in Yemen and triggering a wider conflict in the region.

But on Tuesday the Houthis launched their largest-ever barrage of 18 one-way attack drones, anti-ship cruise missiles and an anti-ship ballistic missile at a host of international commercial vessels and warships in the Red Sea.

While the US and partner military ships and aircraft now protecting the waterways were able to deflect Tuesday’s attack, the scope and severity of the launch drew international condemnation and left few options other than to carry through with global warnings that any further attacks would draw a substantial response.

In response, the US and UK struck Houthi missile, radar and drone capabilities to degrade the group’s ability to conduct more attacks like Tuesday’s barrage.

Pictured below, Huthi fighters brandish their weapons during a march in solidarity with Palestinians in the Huthi-controlled capital of Sanaa yesterday:

Huthi fighters brandish their weapons during a march in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the Huthi-controlled capital Sanaa on January 11, 2024, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant Hamas group in Gaza. Heavy air strikes pounded rebel-held cities in Yemen early on January 12, 2024, the Huthi rebels' official media and AFP correspondents said. The capital Sanaa, Hodeida and Saada were all targeted, the Huthis' official media said, blaming

What is happening in Israel?

Palestinian group Hamas on October 7 attacked Israel, which resulted in about 1,140 deaths, mostly civilians, according to latest totals based on official figures.

Militants also took around 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.

Israel responded with a military campaign that the health ministry in Hamas-run besieged territory says has killed more than 23,000 people.

Pictured below today, Palestinians check the damage to a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip amid ongoing battles:

Palestinians check the damages to a house following Israeli bombardment on January 12, 2024, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

France: Houthis are responsible for escalation

France says Iran-backed Houthis were responsible for an escalation in the Middle East after US and British strikes targeted them in Yemen for attacking Red Sea shipping.

‘Through these armed actions, the Huthis bear the extremely heavy responsibility for the regional escalation,’ the foreign ministry said, referring to weeks of attacks on perceived Israel-linked ships in what the Huthis say is solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

It urged the Huthis to ‘immediately end’ these attacks.

‘France will continue to assume its responsibilities and to contribute to maritime security in the area in link with its partners,’ it added.

Five fighters killed in Yemen, say Houthis

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis said today that strikes by the US and the UK would not go without ‘punishment or retaliation’.

The group’s military spokesman said the strikes killed five fighters and wounded six others, and that the Houthis would continue to block the passage of ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian 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 Houthi 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 Houthis 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,’ Houthi 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

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