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Yemen’s Houthis attacked Israel

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed missile attacks and drone strikes on Israel on Tuesday, risking drawing Iran into the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to TIME.

Israel claimed on Tuesday that its fighter jets and new Arrow missile defence system fired two salvos hours apart near Eilat, the country’s Red Sea key seaport.

“All aerial threats were intercepted outside of Israeli territory. No infiltrations were identified into Israeli territory.”

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree stated:

Our armed forces launched a large batch of ballistic missiles and a large number of drones at various targets of the Israeli enemy.

Besides the attack, which saw the US shoot down missiles, a mysterious explosion struck the Egyptian resort town of Taba, near the border with Israel, on Thursday. Six people were injured by the blast, the cause of which Egyptian authorities did not explain.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm that this operation is the third operation in support of our oppressed brothers in Palestine and confirm that we will continue to carry out more qualitative strikes with missiles and drones until the Israeli aggression stops.”

The missile attack triggered a rare air raid siren in Eilat, forcing people to flee to shelters. The attack came at a time when the amphibious aircraft carrier USS Bataan was probably in the Red Sea with other US ships.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, acknowledged the shelling of Israel by the Houthis, suggesting the rebels had missiles capable of reaching a range of about 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles).

This is something we will continue to monitor. We want to prevent a broader regional conflict.

The Houthis’ announcement has further drawn Iran into the military conflict. The country has long sponsored both the Houthis and Hamas, as well as the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which continues to engage in firefights with the Israelis. US troops have also been the target of drone attacks on bases in Iraq and Syria.

Thomas Juneau, a professor at the University of Ottawa who has studied Yemen for years stated that another front in the south raised the risk that Israel’s [air defences] could be overwhelmed, which in turn could trigger massive missile attacks by Hezbollah, Hamas and other groupings.

It was just a matter of time before they would be able to do this.

Iran has long denied arming the Houthis, although it has transferred rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other weapons to Yemeni militia by sea, as evidenced by components seized aboard detained ships travelling to Iran. The reason for this is probably the UN arms embargo on the Houthis since 2014.

While the Houthis claimed the attack on Abqaiq, the US, Saudi Arabia and analysts blamed Iran. Its mission to the UN warned in a statement to the Associated Press that allied militias such as the Houthis could expand their operations against Israel.

“The warnings from Iran regarding the initial days of the Gaza civilian casualties highlighted a concern: if these atrocities were not halted, they could incite public outrage and exhaust the patience of the resistance movements. These concerns can be averted and the responsibility lies squarely in the hands of the American administration to halt the transgressions perpetuated by the Israeli regime.”

Gaza’s Health Ministry reports that Israeli attacks have killed 8,525 people, including 3,542 children, since October 7. UN officials claim that more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s civilian population of about 2.3 million people have been left homeless.

On October 7, Hamas announced Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel. The group’s militants then infiltrated into Israel and started launching rockets from the Gaza Strip. In response, Israel launched Operation Iron Sword, carrying out a total siege of the Gaza Strip and conducting aerial strikes.

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