Rishi Sunak gained’t rule out extra strikes on Yemen after Houthi rebels vow retaliation | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Rishi Sunak has not dominated out additional navy motion in Yemen after Houthi rebels warned of reprisals for in a single day airstrikes and the chief of Turkey accused the UK and the US of making an attempt to create a “sea of blood”.

As international tensions escalated as a result of the bombing, the prime minister said Britain had sent a “strong signal” that the militants’ attacks in the Red Sea cannot be carried out with “impunity”.

Downing Street rejected the idea the UK was at war with the Iran-backed group and said the UK’s actions, targetting military facilities used by rebels, had been proportionate and carried out in self-defence.

But pressed on what happens if the air strikes fail to deter attacks, Mr Sunak said ministers would monitor the situation, adding: “It’s clear that this type of behaviour can’t be met without a response. We need to send a strong signal that this breach of international law is wrong. People can’t act like this with impunity and that’s why together with allies we’ve decided to take this action.”

President Biden has also said he will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.

Houthi rebels said the strikes killed at least five people and wounded six, and would “not go unanswered and unpunished”.

As considerations over tensions within the Middle East grew, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned the UK and the US try to show the Red Sea right into a “sea of blood”.

Sophia Gaston, head of overseas coverage on the assume tank Policy Exchange, mentioned there was a threat of wider battle within the area following the strikes.

She added that intensified assaults on ships within the Red Sea in response to the newest airstrikes might push the US and UK into “areas that they’re not going to feel very comfortable with”.

She mentioned: “We are moving into a much riskier terrain because the United States and the United Kingdom certainly do not want to be in a situation where we are required to engage beyond a limited targeted strike capacity and certainly not one that may invite the participation of other regional powers.”

She added that the existence of so many proxies for various states, such because the Houthis and Hezbollah for Iran, “necessarily makes this a kind of tinderbox”.

“And I think there are a lot of these players who believe that the stakes at the moment are becoming existential. So I think that always is a recipe for a higher risk of conflict.”

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, of the University of Tehran predicted there would “definitely be escalation” within the area. He informed the BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme the strikes had “created higher instability within the Red Sea.”

Huge explosions were seen in Yemeni cities, including Sanaa and Hodeidah, in the early hours of Friday. The US military said 60 strikes were launched at 16 sites linked to the Houthis’ military operations.

The Ministry of Defence said four Royal Air Force jets struck two Houthi facilities involved in their targeting of HMS Diamond and US Navy vessels on Tuesday.

One was a site at Bani and the other the Abbs airfield, used to launch drones and cruise missiles.

The Houthis on Friday said the US-led operation resulted in at least five deaths and six injuries.

A military spokesperson for the group warned the strikes will not go unpunished and will not deter the militia from supporting Hamas by targeting ships associated with Israel.

Downing Street also said there were “no plans” for further military action but that it would “keep security under review”.

Dr Tobias Borck, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) think tank, said the threat of a wider regional war had existed since Hamas’ deadly October 7 attack on Israel.

“However, escalation can occur on account of accidents and miscalculation, or as a easy compounding of threat, a normalisation of a particularly excessive stage of violence,” he mentioned.