The British Government has assured that no further attacks are planned against Houthi targets in Yemen and has warned that the operation launched on Thursday is not a prelude to a larger conflict. “Clearly, there is nervousness among allies in the region due to fear of an escalation of the conflict,” British Undersecretary of Defense James Heappey acknowledged on the BBC. “But we are confident that last night’s limited, proportionate and necessary attacks were sufficient to disrupt the Houthis.”

Downing Street released the joint statement early on Friday justifying “precision attacks” against more than 60 targets as an exercise in “collective self-defense.” Ten countries, including the United States, reiterated their “shared commitment to ensuring international shipping and trade” in the Red Sea and responding to “the Houthis’ continued, dangerous and destabilizing attacks.”

“It is clear that this type of behavior cannot be tolerated and will not go unanswered,” Rishi Sunak alleged, referring to Houthi attacks on ships and warships in the Red Sea. “We wanted to send a strong signal: this violation of international law is a mistake. People cannot act with impunity, and that is why we have taken action with our allies.”

The United Kingdom was the only country to join the military operation, which involved the destroyer HMS Diamond and four Royal Air Force fighters that hit targets in Bani, northwest of Yemen, and Abbs airfield, on the west coast. Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Bahrain provided “non-operational” logistical support. Denmark went a step further and offered to send a frigate to the Red Sea on Friday. Germany was the third EU country to sign the joint statement, as were South Korea and New Zealand.

Italy, despite the close relationship of “premier” Rishi Sunak with Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, did not sign the statement and defended a position of “caution” in the face of the crisis in the Red Sea. France blamed the attacks on Houthi provocations, but did not sign the statement either.

Russia condemned the attacks as a “risky game” and “a direct threat to global peace and security.” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova anticipated the request for a meeting of the UN Security Council “to make our voice heard against these illegal actions.”

The support and participation of British troops in the operation was decided on Thursday night in an emergency cabinet convened by Sunak. After the attacks in Yemen, the Prime Minister traveled to Ukraine today (accompanied by his Secretary of Security, Tim Barrow) to announce with President Zelensky a new military aid package of 2.8 billion euros.

The leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer, was informed at the end of the cabinet and apparently gave his approval to the decision, although he requested Sunak’s urgent appearance in Westminster: “I want the prime minister to inform Parliament as soon as possible on the scope, nature and extent of the operation”.

The British Government today published the “legal arguments” to justify the operation, in compliance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which recognizes “the inherent right of self-defense.” London alleges that the Houthis have launched “dozens of serious attacks” on British-flagged ships (since Israel’s offensive in Gaza) and that the use of force has been “necessary and proportionate” to diminish the ability of the rebels they control much of the Yemen coast on the Red Sea.

Several Labor MPs however expressed their opposition to the UK’s support and participation in the military operation. Among them, the representative of the left wing of the party John McDonnell, who wrote on X/Twitter: “There should be no military action without approval from Parliament.” always dangerous and have unforeseen consequences,” McDonnell added. “There is a risk of burning the region.”

“Of course we have to ensure that the conflict does not cause a regional escalation,” replied Deputy Defense Secretary James Heappey. “Clearly, no one should see Thursday’s attacks as part of a larger operation.” “In recent months, Houthi militias have carried out a series of dangerous and destabilizing attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, threatening British vessels.” and causing major disruption to a vital route for international trade,” Sunak declared when justifying the attacks. “These reckless actions have put the lives of personnel at sea at risk and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

“Despite continued warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks, including against British and US warships this week,” Sunak added. “This cannot remain as it is. The UK will always defend freedom of navigation. And that is why we have taken limited, necessary and proportionate actions in self-defence, to degrade the Houthis’ capabilities and protect international trade.”