Much of the Houthis' offensive capability remains intact after the US-led airstrikes.

U.S.-led airstrikes on Thursday and Friday against bases in Yemen controlled by Houthi fighters damaged or destroyed about 90 percent of their targets, but the group retained about three-quarters of its ability to fire missiles and drones at crossing ships and drones. Red Sea, two US officials said Saturday.

The damage assessments are the first detailed assessments of strikes by US and British warplanes and warships against nearly 30 locations in Yemen, and they reveal the dire challenges facing the Biden administration and its allies as they try to contain the Iran-backed Houthis. Retaliation between Europe and Asia, securing critical shipping lanes and limiting the spread of regional conflict.

A senior U.S. military official, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, director of the Army's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday that the strikes were aimed at damaging the Houthis' ability to launch sophisticated drone and missile strikes. On Tuesday.

But two U.S. officials warned on Saturday that, after hitting more than 60 missile and drone targets with more than 150 precision-guided munitions, the strikes had damaged or destroyed only 20 to 30 percent of the Houthis' offensive capabilities. Mounted on mobile platforms, can be moved or hidden instantly.

The two U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal military assessments.

Finding Houthi targets proved more challenging than expected. U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies have not spent significant time or resources in recent years collecting data on Houthi air defenses, command centers, ammunition depots and storage and production facilities for drones and missiles, officials said.

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All that changed after Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7 and the Israeli military's retaliatory ground campaign in the Gaza Strip. The Houthis have been attacking merchant ships crossing the Red Sea in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, and have said they will continue until Israel pulls out. U.S. inspectors are rushing to capture and list more potential Houthi targets every day, officials said.

Thursday night's air and naval barrage illustrates this approach, military officials said. The first wave of US-led strikes hit 60 pre-planned targets in 16 locations with more than 100 precision-guided bombs and missiles. About 30 to 60 minutes later, a second wave of strikes was launched against 12 more targets identified by analysts as threats to aircraft and ships.

Hitting pop-up targets at short notice, something the military calls dynamic targeting, could be a key part of any additional strikes President Biden might order, one of the U.S. officials said.

A senior defense official said on Saturday that the US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on a radar facility in Yemen was a “re-strike” of a target first struck in Thursday's barrage that was not sufficiently damaged or destroyed.

Other U.S. military officials said additional re-strikes were possible as inspectors reviewed the damage caused by Thursday night's airstrikes.

Despite their fiery rhetoric and promises of retaliation, the Houthis' military response to Thursday night's attack has so far been muted: Only one anti-ship missile was fired harmlessly into the Red Sea, well beyond any passing ship, General Sims said Friday.

But on Saturday the general and two US officials said they would whip the Houthis once they determined how much firepower they had and settled on an attack plan.

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One of the two U.S. officials said the Houthis appear to be internally divided over how to respond.

“I expect they will try some kind of retaliation,” General Sims said Friday, adding that it was a mistake. “We're not going to mess around here.”

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