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President Joe Biden indicated on Thursday that the United States is likely to continue its military strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Responding to questions about the effectiveness of these strikes, President Biden, en route to North Carolina, said, “Well, when you say ‘working’ — are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes.”
The US has executed several rounds of military action targeting Houthi command centers and installations in recent days. This includes the first round of strikes conducted last week in coordination with the United Kingdom.
The Houthi rebels have escalated tensions by attacking various civilian cargo ships, including U.S.-owned vessels and US Navy ships. The latest assault was against the U.S.-owned bulk carrier Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday.
White House spokesperson John Kirby emphasized the impact of these strikes, stating, “With each and every one of these strikes, we are taking away capability from the Houthis. With each and every one of these strikes we are making it harder for them to propagate these attacks.” Kirby further warned that if the Houthis persist in their aggressive actions, the US will continue its efforts to “disrupt and degrade their ability.”
This comes as the Biden administration announced on Wednesday its decision to label the Houthis as a Specially Designated Terrorist Group (SDTG). This action comes in response to the Houthis’ attacks on international commercial shipping in the Red Sea and their stated retaliation for Israel’s campaign against Hamas.
The SDTG designation is a deviation from the Foreign Terrorist Organization label, which was initially applied by the Trump administration in early 2021 but later revoked by the Biden administration due to concerns about hindering humanitarian aid to Yemen.