Five Things to Know, Feb. 26, 2024
(U.S. Navy photo)

Five Things to Know, Feb. 26, 2024

1.   The U.S. and Britain struck 18 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday, answering a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including a missile strike this past week that set fire to a cargo vessel. According to U.S. officials, American and British fighter jets hit sites in eight locations, targeting missiles, launchers, rockets, drones and air defense systems. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to provide early details of an ongoing military operation.

2.   The Mississippi National Guard paid tribute Saturday to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, 42, who were killed when their AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed during a routine training flight. The crash occurred Friday about 2 p.m. near Booneville, Miss., the Guard said. Booneville is located in the northeast corner of the state near the Alabama-Tennessee state line. “Today is a devastating day for the Mississippi National Guard as we mourn the loss of two of our brave brothers in arms,” Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, said in a statement.

3.   Israel’s defense minister vowed Sunday to step up attacks on Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group even if a cease-fire is reached with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah, which has been exchanging fire with Israel throughout the war in Gaza, has said it will halt its nearly daily attacks on Israel if a cease-fire is reached in Gaza. But Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that anyone who thinks a temporary cease-fire for Gaza will also apply to the northern front is “mistaken.”

4.   An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured Sunday after setting himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide,” a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The man, whose name wasn’t immediately released, walked up to the embassy shortly before 1 p.m. and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, the person said. Law enforcement officials believe the man started a livestream, set his phone down and then doused himself in accelerant and ignited the flames.

5.   More than 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials are gathering in a show of unity for Ukraine, signaling to Russia that their support for Kyiv isn’t wavering as the full-scale invasion grinds into a third year. French President Emmanuel Macron, hosting the conference Monday in Paris, said he wants to discuss strengthening aid and ways to “give credibility to the fact that Russia cannot win in Ukraine.” “We are at a critical moment,” Macron said this weekend.