UK's Sunak says strikes on Houthis 'successful'

The British prime minister tells lawmakers that there were no reports of civilian casualties from the joint strikes

By AFP

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Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. — AP
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. — AP

Published: Mon 15 Jan 2024, 9:42 PM

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that his government believed that all planned targets had been destroyed in last week's US-led strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The British leader also told lawmakers that there were no reports of civilian casualties from the joint strikes, which occurred overnight between Thursday and Friday.

"I can tell the House (of Commons) today that our initial assessment is that all 13 planned targets were destroyed," Sunak said during an address to parliament, describing the strikes as "successful".

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Nine buildings were "successfully hit" at a drone and cruise-missile base in Bani in northwestern Yemen, he added.

A further three buildings were hit at Abbs airfield, while a cruise-missile launcher was also struck, the prime minister said.

"We have seen no evidence thus far of civilian causalities, which we took great care to avoid," Sunak added.

Sunak's comments are his first to parliament about the strikes, which were criticised by old foes Iran and Russia, but also fellow NATO member Turkey.

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The UK leader defended the strikes as a "necessary and proportionate response" to threats to British vessels from Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

And he hinted that more could follow.

"We remain prepared to back our words with action," he said.

Despite the strikes, the Houthis have continued to target ships.

Downing Street said in a briefing to journalists that it was "too early to determine" the full impact of the strikes.

"Never have we claimed that a single action would put an immediate stop to this," the prime minister's official spokesman said.

The Houthis say their attacks on Red Sea shipping are in solidarity with Gaza, where Iran-backed Hamas militants have been at war with Israel for more than three months.

Sunak said that was a "malign narrative" and that the Houthis had targeted ships "from around the world".


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