Mumbai, January 12: The Houthis have been terrorising the Red Sea for quite some time, prompting the US and UK strikes in airstrikes on more than a dozen locations. According to US officials, the US and UK have carried out airstrikes on more than a dozen locations used by the Houthis, a militia group backed by Iran, in Yemen.

The airstrikes are the most significant military action in response to the Houthis’ continuous drone and missile attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, which started after the war in Gaza erupted. Houthi militiamen have been attacking shipping in the Red Sea to show solidarity with Hamas. The Iran-backed group controls vast swathes of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa. We at LatestLY, in this article, shed light on who the Houthis are and why the US and UK carried out strikes on them. US and UK Carry Out Airstrikes Against Iran-Backed Houthis in Yemen After Red Sea Attacks (Watch Videos).

Who Are the Houthis?

The Houthis are a Yemeni rebel group that follows the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam and is named after its founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. They rose up in the 1980s against Saudi Arabia’s religious influence in Yemen. The group, which has about 20,000 fighters and is officially called Ansar Allah, controls most of the western part of the country and its Red Sea coast.

The group has adopted the model of Hezbollah, a Lebanese group supported by Iran, and has received training and weapons from them since 2014. Houthis view Saudi Arabia, the US and the broader West as their foes and see themselves as part of the Iranian ‘resistance axis’ along with Hezbollah and Hamas. US-UK Launch Airstrikes Against Houthi: Russia Requests UNSC To Convene Meeting After US, UK Carries Out Strikes in Yemen.

The government recognised by the international community, led by Yemen President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, had the backing of a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, but he gave up power to a Presidential Leadership Council. The Houthis have taken over large areas of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

Why Houthis Target Vessels in the Red Sea?

The Houthis have launched several attacks on ships passing through the Red Sea. Maersk, a major shipping company, had to stop shipping in the Red Sea last week and diverted its containers through the Cape of Good Hope because of the attacks. On the morning of New Year’s Eve, some Houthi-armed boats tried to capture a Maersk ship, but US warships nearby intervened with helicopters and reinforcements and killed some of the rebels on the boats.

A day before, they had attacked the Maersk Hangzhou, a container vessel owned and operated by Denmark and registered in Singapore, with anti-ship missiles. In November, Houthi rebels attacked and seized an Israeli cargo ship. They keep attacking vessels with drones and ballistic missiles.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 12, 2024 07:33 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website