The Houthi militia threatened a “strong and effective response” after the United States carried out another strike in Yemen on Saturday night, further ratcheting up tensions as Washington vowed to protect shipping from attacks by the Iran-aligned movement.
The strikes have added to concerns about the escalation of a conflict that has spread through the Middle East since the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and Israel went to war, with Iran’s allies also entering the fray from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
President Joe Biden said the United States had sent a private message to Iran about the Houthi attacks. He did not elaborate, telling reporters, “We delivered it privately and we’re confident we’re well-prepared.”
The latest strike, which the US said hit a radar site, came a day after dozens of American and British strikes on Houthi facilities in Yemen.
“This new strike will have a firm, strong and effective response,” Houthi spokesperson Nasruldeen Amer told Al Jazeera, adding there had been no injuries nor “material damages.”
Mohammed Abdulsalam, another Houthi spokesperson, told Reuters the strikes, including the one overnight that hit a military base in Sanaa, had no significant impact on the group’s ability to prevent Israel-affiliated vessels from passing through the Red Sea and Arabian Sea.
The Pentagon said on Friday the US-British strikes had “good effects.”
Hans Grundberg, UN special envoy for Yemen, called on Saturday for maximum restraint by “all involved” and warned of an increasingly precarious situation in the region.
The Houthis say their maritime campaign aims to support Palestinians in Gaza, which is ruled by the Iran-backed Hamas. Many of the vessels they have attacked had no known connection to Israel.
The group, which controls Sanaa and much of the west and north of Yemen, has also fired drones and missiles up the Red Sea at Israel itself.
The guided missile destroyer Carney used Tomahawk missiles in the follow-on strike early on Saturday local time “to degrade the Houthis’ ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels,” US Central Command said in a statement on X.
In Sanaa, government employee Mohammed Samei said the attacks were an act of “brutal aggression” and marked a new stage of a war Yemen has endured for 10 years.
Hussein Kabsi, a retired government employee, said supporting the Palestinians was a “religious and moral duty.”
“Our stance is unwavering, we will (continue) to stand with our brothers in Palestine and Gaza until victory and until all Palestinian land is liberated – not just Gaza,” he said.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Sanaa, chanting slogans denouncing Israel and the United States, footage broadcast by the Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV showed.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said the initial strikes had hit the Houthis’ ability to store, launch and guide missiles or drones, which the group has used to threaten shipping. He said Washington had no interest in a war with Yemen.
The Houthis said five fighters were killed in the initial strikes.
Biden, whose administration removed the Houthis from a State Department list of “foreign terrorist organizations” in 2021, was asked by reporters whether he felt the term “terrorist” described the movement now. “I think they are,” he said.
The Red Sea crisis has added to the spread of conflict through the Middle East since Hamas militants rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages.
Israel has responded with a military campaign in Gaza to try to annihilate Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday the country planned a “huge” addition to its defense budget as part of a build-up designed to cover its needs for years to come.
At the UN Security Council on Friday, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the US and Britain “single-handedly triggered a spillover of the conflict (in Gaza) to the entire region.”
A senior US official accused Tehran of providing the Yemeni group with military capabilities and intelligence. There has been no sign so far Iran is seeking direct conflict, although Iran condemned the American and British strikes.
Houthi attacks have forced commercial ships to take a longer, costlier route around Africa, creating concern about a new bout of inflation and supply chain disruption. Container shipping rates for some global routes have soared this week.
The post Yemen’s Houthis Vow Strong Response After New US Strike first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
‘American Leadership Will Not Waver’: Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan
After months of negotiations, the Senate passed a $95.3 billion aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan on Tuesday by a vote of 70-29.
The bill, if signed by President Biden, would provide $14 billion in military assistance to Israel to help it replenish the Iron Dome and weapons that can help it defeat Hamas. While US President Joe Biden supports the bill, it is not certain to pass the House of Representatives.
The aid package gives $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, along with people in Ukraine and other war zones. However, it is well documented that much of the aid to Gaza does not reach Palestinian civilians but instead goes to Hamas.
The bill also provides about $5 billion toward countering Chinese aggression and $2.5 billion for fighting the Houthis as they continue to terrorize civilian ships in the Red Sea, disrupting global trade.
In the immediate aftermath of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the bill’s passage showed “that American leadership will not waver, not falter, not fail.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) said, in a statement, that “Our adversaries want America to decide that reinforcing allies and partners is not in our interest, and that investing in strategic competition is not worth it. They want us to take hard-earned credibility and light it on fire.”
“But today,” he wrote, “the Senate responded by reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interests.”
More progressive members of the Senate objected to funding Israel in its war against Hamas. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), called the idea of voting for Israel funding “unconscionable.” He wrote, “This bill provides Netanyahu $10 billion more in unrestricted military aid for his horrific war against the Palestinian people. That is unconscionable. I will vote NO on final passage.”
Some conservatives also voted against the bill because it did not include provisions to secure the U.S.’s southern border. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), released a statement making clear that while “It is important that Israel eradicates Hamas, that Taiwan remains resilient against China’s threats, and that Ukraine defeats Russia,” he would vote for the bill “only after America’s border is secured.”
The bill faces an uphill battle to pass in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has suggested provisions will have to be added to secure the southern border for him to bring it to the floor for a vote.
He said, “House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border.“
Johnson continued, “In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”
Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protesters targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital
Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, a century-old Canadian medical institution originally built for Jewish doctors and patients who faced discrimination but which now treats all the city’s residents, became the latest target of anti-Israel protests on Feb.12. Protesters took over portions of southbound University Avenue with one individual climbing a scaffold and waving the Palestinian flag […]
Yeshiva Loses its Ninth Student in War in Gaza
Israelis on Monday woke up to bittersweet news: the good was the successful rescue of two hostages from the Gaza Strip. The bad, that three soldiers, Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen, Lt. Col. Nathaniel Elkoubi, and Maj. Yair Cohen were killed in separate fighting in the Strip.
Chen, 27, from Kfar Saba, was a graduate of a religious Zionist yeshiva in southern Israel which has now lost nine students in the war against Hamas in Gaza.
“We wanted to believe that we had finished paying the heavy price,” the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Wolfson, told Hebrew media.
The yeshiva, Yeruham Hesder, is a program for observant Israelis who wish to combine regular military service with Torah study. A longer program than regular enlistments – five years total – there are thousands of students every year participating.
“We have lost a mainstay of the Beit Midrash (study hall). Ziv, as his name is, was all light,” Rabbi Wolfson added. “A loving and beloved man, I will bless you, everything he did was with infinite love. He loved people, loved the Torah, and everything he was involved in was done wholeheartedly.”
Chen was set to celebrate his wedding anniversary this upcoming Sunday with his wife Hillel, his family said.
At the funeral, held on Tuesday in his hometown, accompanied by hundreds of Israelis paying their respects, his uncle, Danny Chen, said about the fallen soldier: “He was a salt of the earth, a brilliant yeshiva student who loved the Land of Israel. He was a walking encyclopedia, very knowledgeable. Saturday night, two weeks ago, I saw him for the last time, always hugging and kissing. An exemplary child, a great loss. We are all shocked and hurt.”
The organization overseeing the Hesder yeshivot, the Hesder Yeshiva Association, released a statement that said, “We bitterly mourn the death of the soldier Maj. Gen. Ziv Chen, a fighter in the Givati Brigade, student of the Hesder Yeshiva Yeruham, who fell in the war. On behalf of the leaders of the Hesder Yeshivas and all the rabbis and students, we embrace the family, the the rabbis of the yeshiva, its students and graduates, and pray for an overwhelming victory of our heroic soldiers over our vile and cruel enemies. May his soul be wrapped in the bundle of life.”
The three soldiers who perished on Monday were the victims of an IED explosion in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, where the IDF has been concentrating its fighting for the last few weeks.
As mentioned, Chen is the ninth soldier to fall during the war from the Yeroham Yeshiva. The other eight are: Sergeant Ariel Eliyahu, 19, Staff Sergeant Yanon Fleishman, 31, First Sergeant Eitan Dov Rosenzweig, 21, Captain Eitan Fish, 23, Sergeant Yakir Yedidia Shankolevsky, 21, Advanced Sergeant Gideon Ilani, 35, First Sergeant Elisha Levinstern, 38, and First Sergeant Ephraim Yachman, 21.