Anatomy of the airstrikes: Timeline shows how Typhoons carried out Houthi raid & blew up targets with pinpoint accuracy

Anatomy of the airstrikes: Timeline shows how Typhoons carried out Houthi raid & blew up targets with pinpoint accuracy

BRITISH RAF Typhoon jets destroyed Houthi strongholds with pinpoint precision during an overnight blitz by the UK and US on Thursday.

The meticulously planned operation saw the aircraft make their way from Cyprus to Yemen and back in hours, refuelling mid-air after they blitzed the targets.

SWNSAn RAF Typhoon aircraft takes off from Cyprus airbase to launch strikes in Yemen[/caption]

UK Ministry of Defence / Crown 2024The moment an RAF Typhoon launches a strike on a Houthi target[/caption]

Sky NewsHuge explosions rang out across 16 locations in Yemen on Thursday night[/caption]

A jet leaves the Cyprus base headed for Yemen

Ministry of DefenceAn RAF Typhoon fighter plane, used to carry out the strikes on Thursday evening[/caption]

UK MOD Crown copyrightRAF jet back at the Cyprus base after Thursday’s mission[/caption]

Western forces led by the UK and US obliterated 60 military targets in total on Thursday under the cover of darkness, weakening the Iran-backed terror proxy in Yemen.

Laser-guided Tomahawk missiles and Paveway bombs, 1,200mph fighter jets, Reaper drones and destroyers were used alongside the RAF planes.

It was the first time strikes had been launched against the Houthis following months of brutal Red Sea attacks.

And it marks a dramatic escalation in the crisis that for weeks has been threatening to ignite an all-out war across the Middle East over Israel’s ongoing battle with Hamas.

The Ministry of Defence today released dramatic footage of the moment RAF Typhoons conducted precision strikes on two key Houthi military targets.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the “targeted strikes” were “limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence”.

Timeline of RAF strikes

The RAF Typhoon jets took off with the Voyager aircraft from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus at 7.30pm on Thursday evening.

The planes, which have long range fuel tanks, restocked on fuel mid-air halfway to Yemen thanks to the Voyager.

By 11.30pm they had reached their ideal position, five to ten miles from the targets, and let the bombs drop.

The jets, likely hovering at a 35-40k altitude and shooting horizontally, then headed back to Cyprus.

After refuelling on the route back they landed in Cyprus around 3am.

The Houthis announced that five militants were killed and six injured in the overnight strikes.

Their furious forces have vowed to retaliate to a scale “beyond the imagination” and told the US and Britain they had made a “huge mistake launching the war in Yemen”.

Houthi spokesman Muhammad Al-Bukhaiti also added on Al-Arabi TV that “American interests will be a target for our forces wherever they are”.

It comes as…

Houthi rebels vow to get ‘unimaginable’ revenge on US and UK following Thursday’s strikes

Dramatic footage shows the moment bombs rained down on targets

Incredible firepower aimed at Houthi targets included Tomahawk missiles, Reaper drones and 1,200mph jets

An ex-British army chief said the strikes were ‘necessary’ to remove threats to global trade

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dubbed the strikes a ‘proportionate action in self-defence’

President Joe Biden warned ‘he will not hesitate’ to launch further strikes to protect the free flow of commerce

Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands backed the US-UK airstrikes

The Houthi rebel group said five militants were killed and six injured

Both Iran and Hezbollah have condemned the attacks as a ‘clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty’

Mission details & targets

RAF pilots involved in the dangerous mission were not scrambling on the base to get up in the air.

The carefully planned initiative went as intended, with fighter pilots, men on the ground and military commanders behind the scenes pulling together to target the Houthi threat.

Significant intelligence gathered by the allied forces meant each group involved knew what and where they would be striking – and had known for some time.

The weapons landed exactly where they were supposed to, hitting a site in Bani, north-west Yemen used by the Houthi to launch attack drones.

Another Typhoon hit took out an airfield at Abbs – used to launch missiles and drones over the Red Sea.

The Ministry of Defence said four of the RAF Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager tanker, used Paveway IV guided bombs to unleash the strikes on the two Houthi bases.

The Paveway bombs are kitted out with 500lb warheads and tail fins used with laser and GPS technology to zone in on targets.

British drones equipped with lethal Hellfire missiles were also primed.

They said care was taken to minimise any risk to civilian life in the pre-planned operation, helped by conducting it overnight.

And the MOD said early analysis suggests the Houthi capability to attack ships in the Red Sea has been weakened as a result.

They said: “Four RAF Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker therefore used Paveway IV guided bombs to conduct precision strikes on two of these Houthi facilities.

“One was a site at Bani in north-western Yemen used to launch reconnaissance and attack drones.

“A number of buildings involved in drone operations were targeted by our aircraft.

“The other location struck by our aircraft was the airfield at Abbs. Intelligence has shown that it has been used to launch both cruise missiles and drones over the Red Sea.

“Several key targets at the airfield were identified and prosecuted by our aircraft.”

UK and US weapons

Dramatic footage released on Friday shows the moment bombs rained down on the Houthi targets from RAF jets.

Jets, warships and submarines were used by the UK and US overnight in the attacks on Yemen’s capital Sanaa, as well as four other regions, Sadah, Hodeidah, Taiz, and Dhamar.

The bold mission saw at least 60 targets hit in 16 locations across Yemen after the Iran-backed terror proxy threatened the West.

Huge explosions were captured in the clips, as the US and UK sent out formidable weapons in their “self-defence” efforts to target airports, air bases and military camps.

Fiery blazes could be seen on the ground and fighters jets fuelled by plumes of fire soared into the night at rapid speed.

Over 100 precision-guided munitions were used to bomb the capital, as video captured the enormous explosions.

Command and control centres, munition stores, launching bases, production facilities and air defence radar systems were wiped out in the attacks, the US said.

The US used missiles launched by formidable warship Tomahawk, along with fighter jets and a submarine.

The enormous USS Florida is one of only four nuclear-powered missile subs in the US Navy armoury.

America unleashed the powerful ballistic missile sub overnight – which carries nuclear warheads.

And the low-flying Tomahawk missiles, capable of unleashing a 1,000lb warhead on targets, travel at an incredible speed that can override air defence systems.

Last night, US Air Force Lt Gen Alex Grynkewich said they had “executed 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 defence radar systems.”

Red Sea attacks

It follows weeks of dangerous attacks in the Red Sea as Houthi rebels stormed, besieged and threatened the crews of ships passing through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Just days ago masked gunmen in military uniforms stormed the St Nikolas – a Greek-owned 900ft tanker carrying 145,000 tons of crude oil – and ordered it to sail to Iran.

And on Tuesday, British and US warships shot down a barrage of 18 drones and three cruise and anti-ship ballistic missiles fired towards the Red Sea in the Houthis largest attack so far.

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond blasted seven of the drones out of the sky and Defence Secretary Shapps says the warship was “deliberately targeted”.

The radical Islamist ­paramilitary group are using the chaos of the Red Sea attacks to try and pressure Israel into conceding to their allies, Hamas, in Gaza.

Israel is targeting terror group Hamas after their attacks in Israel on October 7, pummelling the Gaza Strip from air and land as they hunt down the remaining masterminds.

The Houthi attacks, according to UK figures, increased by 500% from November to December last year – threatening to ignite an all-out war in the Middle East.

Iran fumed that the strikes on Yemen were a “clear violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and a violation of international laws.

The attacks “will have no result other than fuelling insecurity and instability in the region,” foreign ministry’s spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

Iran’s terror proxies and Houthi allies, Hezbollah and Hamas, have both condemned the strikes and blamed the US and UK for escalating the conflict.

Who are the Houthi Rebels?

The Houthi rebels are terrorising vessels in the Red Sea and now their bases are being struck by the US and UK – but who are they?

The Shia militant group, which now controls most of Yemen, spent over a decade being largely ignored by the world.

However, since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war they sprung from relative obscurity to holding roughly £1trillion of world trade hostage – turning one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes into an active warzone.

Why are they attacking ships?

The rebel group has been launching relentless drone and missile attacks on any ships they deem to be connected with Israel in solidarity with their ally Hamas.

The sea assaults have threatened to ignite a full-blown war in the Middle East as ripples from Israel’s war in Gaza are felt across the region – with Iran suspected of stoking the chaos.

However, there have been frequent attacks on commercial vessels with little or no link to Israel – forcing global sea traffic to halt operations in the region and sending shipping prices soaring.

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea increased 50 per cent between November and December.

Their slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam”.

And the rebel group’s leaders have previously pledged the attacks will continue until Israel stops its devastating offensive inside Gaza.

On Thursday night, explosions rang out in Yemen and President Biden and PM Rishi Sunak struck over 60 Houthi targets.

Allied response

The US and UK said the aerial attacks were intended to disrupt and degrade the militants’ threat to global trade after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave his go-ahead on Thursday evening.

The PM today said the UK needs to send a “strong signal” that the Houthi rebel attacks are wrong and cannot be carried out with “impunity”.

He said: “Our aim is very clear, it’s to de-escalate tensions and restore stability to the region.”

The UK government added: “In planning the strikes, particular care was taken to minimise any risks to civilians, and any such risks were mitigated further by the decision to conduct the strikes during the night.

“The detailed results of the strikes are being assessed, but early indications are that the Houthis’ ability to threaten merchant shipping has taken a blow, and our commitment to protecting the sea-lanes, through which some 15% of the world’s shipping passes and which is vital to the global economy, has been amply demonstrated.”

US President Joe Biden hailed the blitz on sites used by the Iran-backed militia group a “success” and said he would “not hesitate” to launch more.

He added that it sent a “clear message” that the US and its partners will not tolerate attacks which have been crippling international shipping.

He added that the countries acted in “self-defence” after the Iran-backed militia group vowed America and Britain would “pay a heavy price” for their “blatant aggression” in recent months.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The threat to innocent lives and global trade has become so great that this action was not only necessary, it was our duty to protect vessels and freedom of navigation.”

Strikes were carried out with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed.

Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and South Korea also assisted.

The moment a missile is launched from a US warship during the coalition operation

EPAThe Houthis fired a huge drone blitz at HMS Diamond on Tuesday night[/caption]

SuppliedAn RAF jet drops a laser-guided Paveway bomb – used in the attacks on Houthi targets[/caption]

AlamyLaser-guided Paveway bomb – dropped by RAF jets in Thursday’s attack[/caption]

SWNSRoyal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond alongside the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea[/caption]

AFPUS missile destroyer USS Porter launches a Tomahawk missile last year – also used in yesterday’s attacks[/caption]

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s full statement

The Royal Air Force has carried out targeted strikes against military facilities used by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In recent months, the Houthi militia have carried out a series of dangerous and destabilising attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, threatening UK and other international ships, causing major disruption to a vital trade route and driving up commodity prices.

Their reckless actions are risking lives at sea and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Despite the repeated warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks in the Red Sea, including against UK and US warships just this week.

This cannot stand. The United Kingdom will always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade.

We have therefore taken limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence, alongside the United States with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks, to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping.

The Royal Navy continues to patrol the Red Sea as part of the multinational Operation Prosperity Guardian to deter further Houthi aggression, and we urge them to cease their attacks and take steps to de-escalate.

US President Joe Biden’s statement in full

Today, at my direction, US military forces – together with the United Kingdom and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands – successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways.

These strikes are 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.

These attacks have endangered US personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardised trade, and threatened freedom of navigation. 

More than 50 nations have been affected in 27 attacks on international commercial shipping. 

Crews from more than 20 countries have been threatened or taken hostage in acts of piracy.  

More than 2,000 ships have been forced to divert thousands of miles to avoid the Red Sea – which can cause weeks of delays in product shipping times. 

And on 9 January, Houthis launched their largest attack to date- directly targeting American ships.

The response of the international community to these reckless attacks has been united and resolute. 

Last month, the United States launched Operation Prosperity Guardian – a coalition of more than 20 nations committed to defending international shipping and deterring Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.  

We also joined more than 40 nations in condemning Houthi threats. Last week, together with 13 allies and partners, we issued an unequivocal warning that Houthi rebels would bear the consequences if their attacks did not cease. 

And yesterday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding the Houthis end attacks on merchant and commercial vessels. 

Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels. 

I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

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. 

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