The United Kingdom and the United States are preparing to initiate airstrikes against Houthi military installations in Yemen, in response to which the rebel group’s leader has threatened to retaliate with additional assaults on Red Sea shipping.
According to Western defense sources, preparations were reportedly escalating on Thursday in response to a Houthi assault on US and UK warships on Tuesday night, which was targeted with 21 missiles and drones.
The precise magnitude and timeline of the proposed attack remains undisclosed.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Iran-backed group that dominates the western and northern regions of Yemen, responded on Thursday that the Houthis would retaliate if attacked, implying that any conflict in the Red Sea could become a prolonged confrontation.
The cabinet of Rishi Sunak was scheduled to convene virtually on Thursday evening in the midst of rumors that the United Kingdom will soon engage in military strikes.
On Friday, Sunak was expected to deliver a statement to the House of Commons.
In an effort to halt the Houthi militants’ three-month surge of drone and missile assaults in the strategic waterway of the Middle East, experts believe the United States, United Kingdom, and other western allies are most likely to target coastal radar and launch sites.
The southern Red Sea crisis occurs during a period of broader conflict in the Middle East.
Israel has been conducting an intensive bombing operation against Hamas in Gaza for the past four months, amidst escalating tensions in the northern region of the country.
In Lebanon, a confrontation between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran, has become more antagonistic.