Palestinians in Gaza staged a rally on Saturday in solidarity with Yemen against the ongoing war in the country conducted by the Saudi-led coalition. The coalition has stepped up its air strikes following last week's drone and missile strike in Abu Dhabi which was claimed by the Houthi-allied Yemeni armed forces.
The rally was organised by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and saw protestors chanting "Death to the House of Saud" and waving posters of the leader of the Houthi movement, Sayyid Abdulmalik Al-Houthi. Of all the Palestinian resistance factions, Islamic Jihad is considered to have the strongest relations with Iran, which also supports and recognises the de-facto, Houthi-led government based in Sanaa. Tehran halted funding for the Palestinian movement temporarily in 2015 over its neutrality in the case of the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
A statement released by the movement on Friday condemned the coalition for its deliberate targeting of civilians, describing this as "a desperate and cheap" attempt to break the will of the Yemeni people and representing a failure on the battlefield. On the same day, the coalition targeted a prison in north-west Yemen, killing 82 people and wounding at least 200.
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According to Al-Mayadeen, Islamic Jihad official Khaled Al-Batsh addressed the Yemeni people during Saturday's rally, lamenting that, "Arab warplanes are targeting civilians in Yemen, instead of targeting the Israeli occupation."
Although Hamas controls the de facto government in the Gaza Strip and authorises public gatherings, it did not partake in the rally officially and has since sought to distance itself from the event. "The chants against Arab and Gulf states from our Palestinian arena don't represent our position and policy," it said.
However, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said that he supported the Houthi drone attacks against the UAE, a leading member of the coalition. The hashtag, "#Palestinians Support the Houthis" was also trending on social media yesterday but the sentiment has been denounced by some in the Gulf.
Dubai's deputy police chief, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, said that Zahar should be placed on the UAE's international "most wanted" list over his remarks. Ali Khalifa, an Emirati media personality reacted to Zahar's comments and said that they served as a reminder that "the Palestinian leaders remain malicious, hateful and envious." He invoked Palestinian support for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Today it was reported that the UAE intercepted two Houthi ballistic missiles, while a similar attack was launched against an industrial area in the south-west Saudi province of Jazan. Two expatriates received minor injuries.