US Conducts New Airstrikes Targeting Yemen’s Houthi Rebels


US Conducts New Airstrikes Targeting Yemen’s Houthi Rebels | Associated Press 

The U.S. military conducted new airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, officials said Friday. American forces destroyed four explosive-loaded drone boats and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missile launchers Thursday that could target vessels in the Red Sea, the U.S. military’s Central Command said. “They presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” Central Command said. “These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels.”

Intel Officials Warned Well Before Tower 22 Attack Of Increased Risks From Drones | Politico 

Intelligence officials had warned for months of a rising risk that Iranian-made weapons would penetrate U.S. defenses in the Middle East and kill American forces — long before last week’s deadly drone strike against a U.S. outpost in Jordan. Officials in the intelligence agencies and at the Pentagon issued those warnings both internally and in briefings on Capitol Hill starting in late October, when Israel invaded Gaza and Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria ramped up their attacks on American forces in response. 

Meeting Its Demise: Meta Bans Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei's Accounts | Jerusalem Post 

Meta announced it removed Facebook and Instagram accounts run by the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) on Thursday. Meta Spokesperson told RFE/RL “We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy.”


The Oil Was From Iran. The Insurance Was From New York | Bloomberg 

... That’s the home of American Club, the smallest of the 12 companies that cover most of the world’s oceangoing ships against spills and accidents, and the only one based in the US. American Club provides insurance for 21 vessels suspected of having moved Iranian oil, more than any of its peers, according to a Bloomberg News analysis 1of a list provided by the group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). That’s 6% of the tankers American Club covers — even after the company recently culled its client list. Since December, when the insurer’s name came up at a congressional hearing and Bloomberg began asking questions, American Club has dropped coverage for Sincere 02 and 18 other vessels accused by UANI of having carried Iranian oil. Many of them had been under suspicion for years but continued to ply the seas, and American Club continued to collect premiums. 

US Bid To Curb Iranian Oil Bedeviled By Economics, Election | Bloomberg 

... One way to slow exports is to start targeting individual ships that carry the oil, said Claire Jungman, chief of staff at United Against Nuclear Iran. “There are 360-plus vessels currently traveling the waters right now transporting Iranian oil and 90% of those are not sanctioned,” said Jungman. “Starting with sanctioning the vessels would have a huge impact.” 

‘We’re Not Villains’, Insists American Club After Iran-Linked Ships Found On Its Books | TradeWinds 

The American Club has defended its compliance procedures after news agency Bloomberg reported it had been involved in 21 vessels linked to the shipment of Iranian oil. Two vessels, originally named by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), have been dropped from the club and three more are under investigation or are in the process of being dropped, Bloomberg reported. 

American Club Culls 15 Tankers Accused Of Shipping Iranian Oil From Insured Fleet | Lloyd’s List 

Tankers were removed from the New York-based marine insurer over the past five weeks after media organization Bloomberg's investigation when United Against Nuclear Iran claimed the club insured 21 ships in Iran trades. 


Expert Believes Current Conditions May Encourage Iran to Build Nukes | Iran International 

The United States and Israel should tell Iran it risks an “overwhelmingly powerful strike” if it moves to make a nuclear weapon, leading weapons expert David Albright told Iran International. In an interview on Thursday, Albright warned that a “convergence of factors” means “this is the time that “Iran may decide to make nuclear weapons.” “You have a situation where the security incentives for Iran to build nuclear weapons have increased,” he pointed out. “The transparency of the nuclear program has decreased significantly.. Their nuclear weapons capabilities have grown over the last several years… And it's also a point in time where people's attention is elsewhere. The Iran nuclear issue barely makes the newspapers these days.” 


Hamburg Bank Suspected As ‘Financial Hub’ For Iranian Terror | Politico 

A small Hamburg bank was at the center of a clandestine financial network Iran relied on for years to funnel money to its terror proxies in the Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, officials from two western intelligence agencies say. POLITICO can reveal that western intelligence flagged evidence to German financial authorities that the Islamic Republic was using Varengold Bank AG to fund its terror affiliates, leading to a sweeping investigation that has forced the bank to all but shut down its commercial banking operations.  


Iranian Man Wielding An Axe And Knife Is Killed By Police After Seizing Hostages On Swiss Train | Associated Press 

Swiss police say a 32-year-old Iranian asylum-seeker was killed by police after he used an axe and a knife to seize more than a dozen hostages for several hours on a train in western Switzerland. No passengers were injured. The man took the hostages early Thursday evening and police, alerted by passengers, sealed off the area while the train was stopped in the town of Essert-sous-Champvert, police in the French-speaking Vaud region said Friday. The man, speaking Farsi and English, demanded that the train engineer join the 15 hostages. 

Family Of Swede Imprisoned In Iran Fear Death Penalty Verdict Is Imminent | The Guardian 

The family of a Swedish EU diplomat imprisoned in Iran for more than 663 days fear he will be given a death sentence or life imprisonment within the coming days after prosecutors sought the maximum sentence in his case. “I ask how can this be happening? He is my brother and I’m like: they want to kill my younger brother? That is very hard to take in. I also feel so sad for him being there alone, you know, when I see the pictures of him I just want to be there for him,” said Johan Floderus’s sister, Ingrid. 


More Than 40 Iran-Backed Militants Killed Or Wounded In US Strikes, Pentagon Says | The National 

More than 40 Iran-backed militants were killed or injured by US air strikes launched in retaliation for an attack on a US base in Jordan that killed three American troops, the Pentagon said on Thursday. US forces hit Iran-backed targets in Iraq and Syria on February 2. US Central Command said the strikes hit more than 85 targets linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the militia groups it supports. The targets were struck in four Syrian sites, and three in Iraq. 


Rep. Waltz On The Need For The US To Go Directly After Iran Operatives | Fox News 

Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., on growing conflict between the U.S. and Iran, and a phone call between Putin and Xi Jinping. 

Rep. Clyde’s Bill to Redesignate Houthis as FTO Advanced by Committee | U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde 

This week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance Congressman Andrew Clyde’s (GA-09) legislation, H.R. 6046, the Standing Against Houthi Aggression Act, by a bipartisan vote of 34-13. The bill redesignates the Iran-backed Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and reinstates sanctions on the group. 


Iran Foreign Minister Expected In Lebanon, Syria In Coming Days | Jerusalem Post 

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will travel to Lebanon and Syria to discuss various regional issues, Iranian and Syrian media reported on Thursday. Iranian media said he would be in Lebanon on Friday. Syrian daily Al-Watan, which is close to the government, said Amirabdollahian would be in Damascus "early next week" for a visit with senior officials. Al-Watan said the foreign minister would discuss current developments, including Israeli attacks on Syria and the ongoing war in Gaza, and that he would travel onwards to Qatar. 

Israel Says Lebanon Fires Rockets After Hezbollah Commander Hurt | Al-Monitor 

About 30 rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon late Thursday into early Friday, following an Israeli drone strike that seriously wounded a commander of Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Israeli army said. "We can confirm that around 30 rockets were fired from Lebanon toward the areas of Ein Zeitim and Dalton in the north of Israel," an army spokesperson told AFP, adding that initial reports suggested "no one was wounded" by the strikes. Earlier Thursday evening, an Israeli drone strike on a car in south Lebanon seriously wounded a commander of Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah on Thursday, sources on both sides of the border said. 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Reiterates Call For Blockading Israel | Iran International 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has reiterated his calls for a blockade of Israel while Tehran separately denies its role in the Gaza war. “It is the duty of the governments to cut off political, propaganda and arms aid and not to send consumer goods to the Zionist regime,” Khamenei said on Thursday. Back in November, Khamenei urged Muslim states to cease oil, food and goods exports to Israel to force Israel into a ceasefire amid its war on Gaza sparked by the October 7 Hamas attacks. At least 1,200 mostly civilians were killed and at least 250 more taken hostage in the single most deadly day for Jews since the Holocaust. 


US Forces Struck Three Houthis Missiles In Preemptive Attack | Iran International 

In two separate preemptive attacks, US forces targeted cruise missiles belonging to the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen on Wednesday night. The US military announced in a post on X that the attacks targeted two mobile anti-ship cruise missiles and a mobile land attack cruise missile which posed “an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels” in the region. “These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure,” the post added. It is the fourth attack on Houthi targets in recent weeks following the militant group's campaign to target shipping lanes in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait began in November in allegiance with fellow Iran-backed militia, Hamas in Gaza.  


Iraq Says US Strikes Pushing Government To End US-Led Coalition's Mission | Reuters 

Repeated U.S. strikes against Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq are pushing the Baghdad government to end the mission of the U.S.-led coalition in the country, the prime minister's military spokesperson said on Thursday. The U.S. military said a strike on Wednesday killed a commander from Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed armed group in Iraq that the Pentagon has blamed for attacking its troops. Spokesperson Yahya Rasool said in a statement the U.S.-led coalition "has become a factor for instability and threatens to entangle Iraq in the cycle of conflict."