THE UK and US have carried out a new set of joint airstrikes in Yemen, as part of the latest bid to stop Houthi attacks.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the latest round of strikes were in “self-defence” and that it would “deal another blow” to the rebel group.

It follows seven rounds of airstrikes on Houthi military sites by the US in recent days, and comes after the UK took part in an initial joint strike operation earlier this month against the Houthis.

Following on from this, ships have continued to be targeted along the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden trade routes.

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Shapps (below) said: “Dangerous Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea have continued to threaten the lives of sailors and disrupt shipping at an intolerable cost to the global economy. Along with our US partners, we have conducted a further round of strikes in self-defence.

The National: Grant Shapps

“Aimed at degrading Houthi capabilities, this action will deal another blow to their limited stockpiles and ability to threaten global trade.

“Alongside our ongoing diplomatic efforts, we will continue to support regional stability across the Middle East, working hand in hand with our like-minded partners.”

The Houthis’ media office said in an online statement that several American and UK strikes had targeted Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm that retaliation against American and British attacks is inevitable, and any new aggression will not go unpunished,” the group said.

The group has previously said the attacks in the Red Sea are in response to Israel’s war in Gaza and to show their support for Palestinians.

It has carried out more than 30 attacks on international shipping since mid-November, according to the Ministry of Defence.

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Some major shipping companies have suspended operations in the region and instead sent vessels on the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

The latest round of strikes is likely to raise questions about the need to consult Parliament over military action.

Sunak, following the first joint mission, faced criticism for not consulting Parliament before taking action.

Responding to the latest news, Green MP Caroline Lucas commented: "Rishi Sunak said air strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen sent *a clear message*. 

The National:

"David Cameron says more strikes send *the clearest message*. Where will this end as the only message being received in the region is the UK's failure to back an end to suffering in Gaza."

Elsewhere, the Stop the War Coalition were also critical of the latest wave of airstrikes. 

Speaking to The National, the group's national officer John Rees said: "Last night, the US and UK made the largest raids so far on Yemen. 

"We were told there was no need for a vote in Parliament because it was a one-off raid. Well, this is now the third one-off raid. 

"We should be under no illusion that we are not at war with Yemen. If things were the other way around and Yemen had carried out eight air raids, including on London, we'd be pretty certain we were at war.

"The repercussions of Israel's war on Gaza are threatening a much wider conflict. We must stop bombing Yemen."

A joint statement issued by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the US described the strikes as “proportionate and necessary”.

The statement said that the mission targeted Houthi underground storage site as well as locations linked to the Houthis’ missile and air surveillance capabilities.

It continued: “The Houthis’ now more than 30 attacks on international and commercial vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge.

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“Recognising the broad consensus of the international community, we again acted as part of a coalition of like-minded countries committed to upholding the rules-based order, protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce, and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on mariners and commercial shipping.”

The countries also warned: “We will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats.”