The United States, UK and eight allies said Friday their joint air strikes on rebel targets in Yemen were aimed at restoring “stability in the Red Sea”. “Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea,” the governments of the US, UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and South Korea said in a joint statement. “But let our message be clear: we will not hesitate to defend lives and ensure the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats.” The strikes came after weeks of attacks on Red Sea shipping by Iran-backed Huthi forces acting in solidarity with Hamas. The statement issued by the 10 countries said that the “precision strikes were intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities the Huthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of international mariners.” “The Huthis’ more than two dozen attacks on commercial vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge. “Today’s action demonstrated a shared commitment to freedom of navigation, international commerce, and defending the lives of mariners from illegal and unjustifiable attacks,” it added.