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Israel-Hamas war: US, UK launch new strikes against Houthis

Published January 22, 2024last updated January 23, 2024

US and UK forces have bombed sites used by Houthis in Yemen as the group continues to target ships in the Red Sea. Meanwhile, Israel has expanded its ground offensive in the city of Khan Younis. Follow DW for more

A US Navy ship in the Red Sea on October 19, 2023 shot down missiles and drones that had been fired by Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen
It is the second time the two allies have conducted coordinated strikes against the Houthis in YemenImage: US NAVY/AFP
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • US and UK forces launch new strikes against Houthis in Yemen
  • Israeli forces and Hamas fighters clash, with fighting widened to new districts of Gaza's second-largest city
  • The 27 foreign ministers of the EU are to hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian representatives
  • The EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, says Israel must allow Palestinians to have statehood
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes under increasing pressure from hostages' families
Skip next section UK defense secretary says strikes degrade Houthi capabilities
January 23, 2024

UK defense secretary says strikes degrade Houthi capabilities

US and UK officials have confirmed new strikes against Houthi positions in Yemen on Monday evening.

The Pentagon said they had targeted an underground storage site, missiles, and other Houthi military capabilities in the latest round of bombings.

"These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners," the statement said.

It was the eighth round of strikes carried out by the US against the Iran-backed rebel group, and the second joint operation with the UK.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said the action dealt the Houthis "another blow to their limited stockpiles and ability to threaten global trade."

The US said Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands supported the latest military action.

Multiple rounds of strikes over the past month have, so far, failed to stop Houthi attacks against shipping in the Red Sea.

Skip next section US and UK launch strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen for a second time
January 22, 2024

US and UK launch strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen for a second time

US and UK forces carried out fresh joint strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Monday evening.

Officials reported that the two countries fired Tomahawk missiles from warships and submarines, along with fighter jets, to target Houthi missile storage sites and launchers.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not say how many targets were hit.

This is the second time that the UK has joined the US in launching strikes against Yemen.

Houthi-controlled media reported that the strikes targeted the capital Sanaa and several other provinces. 

The Iran-backed rebel group has repeatedly attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea since the start of  Israel's military operation in Gaza. It's vowed to continue targeting shipping until Israel ends the war

EU Red Sea response will be more cautious than that of US: DW's Rosie Birchard

Skip next section Portugal hopes Netanyahu will 'revise' his opposition to a two-state solution
January 22, 2024

Portugal hopes Netanyahu will 'revise' his opposition to a two-state solution

Portugal has called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "revise" his position on a two-state solution after the European Union's top diplomats held talks with their Israeli counterpart on Monday.

"We absolutely lament and regret that Prime Minister Netanyahu should have made comments against the two-state solution, and we call upon him to revise that position," Joao Gomes Cravinho told DW after the meeting in Brussels.

"The support that we give for Israel with respect to Israel's security, Israel's right to live in peace, is not necessarily the same thing as supporting everything the Israeli government says. And at this moment, we think that the Israeli government is actually not making a useful contribution to the peace for Israel," Cravinho said.

Over the weekend, Netanyahu once again rejected calls for Palestinian sovereignty after the war. 

Netanyahu rejects US calls for two-state solution

Skip next section EU states agree on military operation in Red Sea
January 22, 2024

EU states agree on military operation in Red Sea

European Union member states have agreed "in principle" to launch a military operation to secure merchant shipping in the Red Sea, the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said after a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

Diplomats said the mission would ideally start next month and put an end to attacks by Yemen's Islamist Houthi militants.

The Iran-allied Houthis began their attacks on vessels in the Red Sea following Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Under current plans, the EU mission will include the deployment of European warships and airborne early warning systems to protect cargo ships in the region. Still, there are no plans to participate in US strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen.

According to government sources, Germany intends to participate in the military operation with the frigate Hessen, provided the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, gives a mandate after the EU plans are finalized.

On Monday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for the preparations for the planned EU military mission to be completed quickly. The final details must now be clarified urgently, she said on the sidelines of the EU meeting.

Houthi attacks: Escalation in the Middle East?

Skip next section Britain "disappointed" by Netanyahu's stance on two-state model
January 22, 2024

Britain "disappointed" by Netanyahu's stance on two-state model

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opposition to a future sovereign Palestinian state is "disappointing," British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's office said, reiterating British support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden have disagreed over the future creation of an independent Palestinian state, with Netanyahu saying over the weekend that he would not compromise on "full Israeli security control of all territory west of the Jordan River."

Asked about Netanyahu's comments, Sunak's spokesman told reporters: "It's disappointing to hear this from the Israeli prime minister."

"The UK's position remains (that) a two-state solution, with a viable and sovereign Palestinian state living alongside a safe and secure Israel, is the best route to lasting peace," the spokesman said.

The two-state solution has long been the fundamental framework of international efforts to resolve the conflict, but the peace process has been moribund for years.

Netanyahu rejects US calls for two-state solution

Skip next section UK, US impose sanctions targeting Hamas financing
January 22, 2024

UK, US impose sanctions targeting Hamas financing

The United Kingdom and United States sanctioned critical figures in the financial networks of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another militant group committed to the destruction of Israel, Britain's Foreign Office said.

According to the statement, five key individuals and one entity involved in the leadership and financial networks of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are subject to the new coordinated sanctions, which aim to cut off the flow of funds that support these terrorist groups, including from Iran.

"These sanctions send a clear message to Hamas the UK and our partners are committed to ensuring there is no hiding place for those financing terrorist activities," British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said.

The sanctions target Zuheir Shamlakh, a man known as Hamas's "main money changer" and a key figure involved in the group's shift towards cryptocurrencies.

Shamlakh exploited digital currencies and existing systems of informal money transfers to move large sums of money from Iran to Hamas ahead of the group's October 7 attacks on Israel, the Foreign Office added.

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are listed as terrorist organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and some other states.

Skip next section Germany temporarily waives residence permit requirement for Israelis
January 22, 2024

Germany temporarily waives residence permit requirement for Israelis

Israeli citizens who are currently in Germany can remain in the country until April 26 without any bureaucratic hassle, the German Interior Ministry said.

"With our regulation, we are enabling Israeli citizens to stay in Germany for a further three months without having to apply for a residence permit. This is pragmatic and unbureaucratic help for people who we want to support in this difficult situation," said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

Israeli nationals can normally stay in Germany for 90 days without a visa.

From January 26 to April 26, they will now be exempt from the requirement to apply for a residence permit or an extension to their visa-free stay, the ministry added.

Skip next section Hostage families disrupt Israeli parliament
January 22, 2024

Hostage families disrupt Israeli parliament

Dozens of relatives of hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza stormed into a finance committee meeting at Israel's parliament on Monday.

"You won't sit here while they are dying there!" the family members yelled. 

However, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told hostage families that Hamas has made no solid offer that would see their loved ones freed.

"There is no real proposal by Hamas. It's not true. I am saying this as clearly as I can because there are so many incorrect statements which are certainly agonizing for you," a statement from Netanyahu's office quoted him as telling representatives of hostage families.

Some of the relatives set up a protest tent in Jerusalem on Sunday and vowed to stay there until the government agrees on a deal to free some of the hostages.

Families have accelerated their protests in recent days and urged the government do more to get their loved ones released.

Israel's Netanyahu rejects Hamas' hostage deal conditions

Skip next section Gaza ministry says 25,295 Palestinians killed in war
January 22, 2024

Gaza ministry says 25,295 Palestinians killed in war

The Health Ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip has said a total of 25,295 Palestinians have been killed, with another 63,000 injured in Israeli strikes on the territory since October 7. 

The toll includes 190 people killed and 340 wounded in the past 24 hours, the ministry added.

Figures from the ministry are deemed as largely accurate by the UN, but do not differentiate between militants and civilians.

Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip came in response to deadly raids by Hamas in the south of Israel in which some 1,100 Israelis were killed, mostly civilians.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, the EU, Germany and several other governments.

Israel-Hamas war: 100 days and no end in sight

Skip next section Jordanian, Saudi foreign ministers insist on Palestinian statehood
January 22, 2024

Jordanian, Saudi foreign ministers insist on Palestinian statehood

Jordan's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, has condemned the Israeli government, saying it was defying the world by not accepting a two-state solution for Israel and Palestinians.

"The only way out of this misery is a two-state solution," Safadi told reporters at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, claiming that Israel had a "radical racist agenda."

"They are defying the whole international community and it is about time the world took a stand."

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are in Brussels to hold talks with their counterparts from European Union member states, who will in turn speak with top Israeli and Palestinian diplomats.  

In a television interview broadcast late Sunday, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said his country would not normalize relations with Israel or contribute to the reconstruction of Gaza without a credible pathway to a Palestinian state.

The remarks to CNN were among the most direct yet from Saudi officials.

Skip next section IDF releases footage of hostage tunnels
January 22, 2024

IDF releases footage of hostage tunnels

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has released footage of tunnels where it says hostages were kept in Gaza's second-largest city, Khan Younis.

The footage showed squalid conditions in which the IDF said the hostages were being held. 

The tunnel was about 830 meters (just over 2,700 feet) long and about 20 meters deep, the IDF said.

"We cannot and will not rest knowing innocent civilians are being held in compounds like this one. We will not stop operating until we bring the hostages home," it added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under renewed pressure to secure the return of the hostages and account for security failings surrounding the October 7 attacks.

Relatives of hostages and their supporters rallied near Netanyahu's home over the weekend to call for more to be done to bring the hostages back.

Hamas militants also seized about 250 hostages in the October 7 attacks, and Israel has said around 132 remain in besieged Gaza.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union, as well as Israel and in some other states.

Skip next section EU's Borrell questions Israel's alternative to two-state solution
January 22, 2024

EU's Borrell questions Israel's alternative to two-state solution

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has insisted on a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian territories, telling Israel it couldn't build peace "only by military means." 

Ahead of talks Monday in Brussels with Israeli and Palestinian top diplomats and EU foreign ministers, Borrell said the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip "could not be worse," amid Israel's offensive there against the Hamas militant group, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the EU. 

He also said Palestinian statehood must be something that Israel was willing to work toward.

"Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave?" Borrell told journalists. 

"From now on, I will not talk about the peace process, but I want a two-state-solution process," he said.

Skip next section Only 15 bakeries operating in Gaza, UN agency says
January 22, 2024

Only 15 bakeries operating in Gaza, UN agency says

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA oPt) has said that, according to humanitarian partners, as of January 17 only 15 bakeries were operational across the Gaza Strip.

Six are in Rafah and another nine in Deir al-Balah in the southern part of the territory, but none are functioning in the north. 

The World Food Program has been supporting eight of the functional bakeries with wheat flour, salt, yeast and sugar, OCHA oPt said.

"Through this initiative, about 250,000 people were able to purchase bread at a subsidized price," it added.

The heads of three major UN agencies warned last week that Gaza urgently needs more aid or its population will suffer widespread famine and disease.

Skip next section Germany foreign minister: Two-state solution is the only path to peace
January 22, 2024

Germany foreign minister: Two-state solution is the only path to peace

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said a two-state solution to allow Israelis and Palestinians to peacefully coexist is the "only solution" to the current conflict in Gaza.

Baerbock made the comments before heading into a EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"All those who say they don't want to hear about such a solution have not brought [up] any alternative," she added. 

Baerbock also called for an urgent "humanitarian pause" to the war, and said the whole region would never be able live in peace if Hamas did not end its acts of violence.

Baerbock: Two-state solution only way to end Israel-Gaza war

Skip next section Fighting fronts widen in Khan Younis
January 22, 2024

Fighting fronts widen in Khan Younis

Witnesses have reported fierce fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants and deadly strikes overnight in Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, and the present epicenter of the conflict. 

Israel's Haaretz newspaper has reported that the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) operations were moving into previously unengaged areas of the city. It said there were reports of movement of forces toward the southern and western outskirts of the city.

On Sunday evening, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said security forces were "engaging in a forceful operation in the Khan Younis area, and it will expand."

Heavy bombing of the city resumed late Sunday as explosions echoed throughout the city.

UN warns Gaza 'uninhabitable' as war continues

Fighting was also reported between Hamas militants and Israeli forces in Jabalia, one of the remaining Hamas strongholds in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has said its troops have cleared much of the northern part of the Palestinian territory of Hamas' military network, with more than a million residents moving south to flee the bombardments.

Israel's offensive has killed at least 25,105 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will not stop until it has destroyed Hamas, after Hamas' attacks on October 7 resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people.

rc/wmr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)