The United States and the United Kingdom have launched a series of strikes on Yemen against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who have been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea.
The Houthis, who support the Palestinian group Hamas, called Friday’s attacks “barbaric” and in a statement threatened that “all US, UK interests have become ‘legitimate targets’.”
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The rebels – who control most parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa – also promised to continue targeting Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in several cities to condemn the US and British strikes and to reaffirm their support for Palestinians.
Yemen’s Saudi-backed, internationally recognised government, blamed the Houthis for the UK and US strikes, saying the rebels bore responsibility for dragging Yemen into a conflict with its attacks in the Red Sea.
Here are some of the international reactions to the attack, which threatens to further inflame tensions in the region:
“The attacks are happening in an effort to extend the full support of the US and UK in approximately the past 100 days for the war crimes of the Zionist regime against the Palestinian people and the besieged citizens of Gaza,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said: “These attacks are a clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and a breach of international laws.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for restraint and “avoiding escalation” after the strikes and said it was monitoring the situation with “great concern”.
“The kingdom emphasises the importance of maintaining the security and stability of the Red Sea region as the freedom of navigation in it is an international demand,” it said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the strikes and said the US and UK are “trying to turn the Red Sea into a sea of blood”.
“All of these acts are disproportionate use of force,” he said, adding, “Israel also resorts to this disproportionate use of force in Palestine.”
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said: “The Israeli aggression on Gaza and its continued committing of war crimes against the Palestinian people and violating international law with impunity are responsible for the rising tensions witnessed in the region.”
The stability of the region and its security are closely tied, Safadi said, according to state media.
“The international community is at a humanitarian, moral, legal and security crossroads,” he added. “Either it shoulders its responsibilities and ends Israel’s arrogant aggression and protects civilians or allows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist ministers to drag us into a regional war that threatens world peace.”
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed “deep concern” over the escalation of military operations in the Red Sea and air strikes in Yemen.
A statement from the ministry called for “uniting” international and regional efforts to reduce instability in the region.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all sides “not to escalate” the volatile situation in the Red Sea, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
“The Secretary General further calls on all parties involved not to escalate even more the situation in the interest of peace and stability in the Red Sea and the wider region.”
“These strikes were defensive and designed to preserve freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways. The [Houthi] attacks must end,” a spokesperson for the military alliance said.
“Houthi forces are supported, supplied and equipped by Iran, so Tehran has a special responsibility to rein in its proxies,” the spokesperson added.
NATO was not involved in the attack, but the US and UK are part of the alliance while two other NATO members, the Netherlands and Canada, provided support.
The Lebanese group, which is an ally of Iran and the Houthis, said the US aggression confirms that Washington is in “full partnership” with Israel.
“The US is a full partner in the tragedies and massacres committed by the Zionist enemy in Gaza and the region,” a statement from the group said.
Condemning the strikes, Hamas said in a statement that the US and UK governments will bear responsibility for their attacks’ impacts on the security of the region.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad
The Gaza-based Palestinian group said the escalation confirms that the US administration is “waging a war of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.
“We call on the people of the Arab and Islamic nation to take action in rejection of the aggression against Yemen, which rose up in defence of Gaza and the holy places of Muslims in Palestine.”
Russia said the strikes violate international law and wrongly take advantage of a United Nations Security Council resolution that had demanded the Houthis stop their attacks on shipping lanes.
“The US air strikes on Yemen are another example of the Anglo-Saxons’ perversion of UN Security Council resolutions,” said Maria Zakharova, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
Zakharova said the strikes showed a “complete disregard for international law” and were “escalating the situation in the region”.
France reaffirmed its condemnation of Houthi strikes on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, calling for an immediate stop to them.
“With those armed actions, the Houthis bear the extremely serious responsibility of the escalation in the region,” the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Germany’s Federal Foreign Office said the strikes were meant to prevent further attacks. “Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea,” the ministry posted on X.
Spain will not intervene militarily in the Red Sea region out of “a commitment to peace” and any country doing so will have to answer for its actions, Defence Minister Margarita Robles said.
Highlighting that Madrid is not judging other countries’ actions in the Red Sea, she said: “Every country has to give explanations for its actions. Spain will always be committed to peace and dialogue.”
Belgium is working with its partners in the European Union and the United States to restore security in the Red Sea region and avoid any spillover, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said on X.
“The ongoing attacks by the Houthis are a real danger for the stability of the region and represent an escalation that benefits no one,” she wrote.
“The US-British action is based on the right of self-defence, aims to protect free passage and is focused on de-escalation. The Netherlands, with its long history as a sea-faring country, places significant importance on the right of free passage and supports this targeted operation,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
Denmark fully supports the US and British strikes, according to a statement by Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
Oman denounced the military action from “friendly countries”, state media reported. Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi said the attack went against his country’s advice and will only add fuel to an extremely dangerous situation.
The United Arab Emirates has expressed grave concern over the consequences of attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, the Gulf state’s official news agency said.
The UAE also stressed the importance of maintaining security in the region and the interests of its countries.
Iraq’s Harakat al-Nujaba
The paramilitary group has warned that American interests and coalition countries will not be safe from now on.
US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell
McConnell welcomed the US-led coalition’s operations against “the Iran-backed Houthi terrorists responsible for violently disrupting international commerce in the Red Sea and attacking American vessels”.
“President [Joe] Biden’s decision to use military force against these Iranian proxies is overdue. I am hopeful these operations mark an enduring shift in the Biden administration’s approach to Iran and its proxies,” he said.
Democratic US Representative Ro Khanna
Khanna said Biden “needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another Middle East conflict”.
“That is Article I of the Constitution. I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.”
Democratic US Representative Val Hoyle
Hoyle stressed that “the air strikes have not been authorised by Congress”.
“The Constitution is clear – Congress has the sole authority to authorize military involvement in overseas conflicts. Every president must first come to Congress and ask for military authorisation, regardless of party.”
British MP Jeremy Corbyn
The former Labour Party leader said the military action was “a reckless act of escalation that will only cause more death and suffering”.
“It is utterly disgraceful that Parliament has not even been consulted. When will we learn from our mistakes and realise that war is not the answer?” Corbyn wrote on X.
British MP Diane Abbott
The independent member of parliament said that at a time when the UK government should be backing a ceasefire in Gaza, it was instead sending “jet fighters to back the US against the Houthis”.
“No parliamentary approval and no idea where it will all end,” Abbott said on X.