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US, British jets hit Houthi targets, drawing them toward a combat role in Israel’s war

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. and British combat aircraft struck targets belonging to Yemen’s Houthi militia on Thursday, marking a rare and risky instance of U.S. and Western involvement in a conflict between Israel and an Arab adversary.

The Houthis, an Iran-backed militia, had been targeting Western sea vessels in the Red Sea, ostensibly to pressure Israel to cease fire in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Houthi officials said the strikes had killed five militants and wounded six.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the lead Pentagon spokesman, told CNN on Friday morning that the attacks were aimed at keeping the Israel-Hamas war from widening.

“What we continue to see is that the conflict between Israel and Hamas does remain contained to Gaza,” he said. “A major focus for us is to deter that conflict from broadening into a a wider regional conflict. And so what you had in the Red Sea, what we’ve seen is the Houthis indiscriminately attacking commercial shipping and mariners transiting this vital waterway, and so over 50 countries have been affected by this. So this is an international problem that required international response.”

Thursday’s strikes, carried out by U.S. and British aircraft, had the logistical and diplomatic backing of an array of countries adversely affected by Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

A joint statement by Australia, Bahrain, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States warned that “malign actors would be held accountable should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and the free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways.”

The statement said the Houthis had carried out more than two dozen attacks on commercial vessels since mid-November, which it called “an international challenge.” It added, :Today’s action demonstrated a shared commitment to freedom of navigation, international commerce, and defending the lives of mariners from illegal and unjustifiable attacks.”

The Houthis since their establishment have been especially hostile to Israel, although Israel had nothing to do with the group’s conflict with the Saudis. They launched the raids on commercial vessels in November as a means of siding with Hamas in its war with Israel.

But the Houthis promised retaliation to Thursday’s strikes, with a Houthi spokesman saying the strikes would “not go unanswered or unpunished,” the Associated Press reported. That portends an escalation that could potentially draw the West into an Israeli-Arab war.

Such involvements have in the past had longstanding diplomatic and military repercussions. After Israel launched a war in Lebanon in 1982, a U.S.-led bid keep the peace there saw a massive Hezbollah attack on U.S. and French forces in 1983 and a withdrawal in 1984 that, according to a CIA document from 1985, preceded growing sympathy for Hezbollah among Lebanese Shiites.

The 1956 Suez War, launched against Egypt by an Israeli-British-French alliance, led to the United Kingdom and France losing influence in the Middle East, coupled with the rise of Soviet influence in the region.

Not yet clear is how the Houthis’ backers in Iran would react to Thursday’s strikes. Saudi Arabia has for years sought to unseat the Houthis after the group seized control of parts of the country from a Saudi-backed government nearly a decade ago. The Saudis, the Houthis and the Iranians are now seeking to end that conflict and are abiding by a temporary ceasefire.

President Joe Biden has robustly backed Israel in its war, although in recent weeks he has pressured the country into drawing down forces in Gaza and increasing the entry of humanitarian assistance into the strip, which world bodies have said is verging on starvation.

The Biden administration has also sought to deter Israel and Hezbollah from expanding their conflict in Lebanon. Hezbollah, which like the Houthis and Hamas is backed by Iran, and allied militias started striking targets in northern Israel at the start of the war.

The post US, British jets hit Houthi targets, drawing them toward a combat role in Israel’s war appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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