Iran and Russia are slamming airstrikes carried out early Friday by the U.S. and Britain against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, calling them “irresponsible” and warning that they “will only contribute to insecurity and instability in the region.”
President Biden said he’d authorized the strikes “in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea — including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.”
Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the head of U.S Air Force Central Command, said there were “deliberate strikes on over 60 targets at 16 Iranian-backed Houthi militant locations, including command and control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems.”
But Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kannani said in a statement to Reuters that “These attacks are a clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a breach of international laws.
“These attacks will only contribute to insecurity and instability in the region,” he added.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said “We strongly condemn these irresponsible actions by the United States and its allies” and called for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday to discuss the matter, according to Reuters.
“A large-scale military escalation in the Red Sea region could strike out the positive trends that have emerged recently in the Yemeni settlement process, as well as provoke a destabilization of the situation throughout the Middle East,” she continued.
Grynkewich said in a statement that “Over 100 precision-guided munitions of various types were used in the strikes.
“These strikes were comprised of coalition air and maritime strike and support assets from across the region, including U.S. Naval Forces Central Command aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from surface and sub-surface platforms,” he also said.
The attacks were carried out with support from Australia, the Netherlands, Bahrain, and Canada. A U.S. defense official says the U.K. contributed aircraft.
Recent Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, according to Biden, have endangered U.S. personnel and its allies and have threatened freedom of navigation.
“These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes,” Biden said.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Liz Friden contributed to this report.