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Yemen Houthis say they launched missiles, drones at Israel

October 31, 2023 at 3:19 pm

Forces loyal to Yemen’s Houthis hold up Palestinian flags as they march in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians on October 15, 2023, in Sanaa [MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images]

Yemen’s Houthi group said it launched a “large number” of drones and ballistic missiles towards Israel on Tuesday, after Israel’s military said it downed an approaching “aerial target” off the Red Sea city of Eilat, Reuters reports.

The operation was the third targeting Israel and there would be more, Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Saree, said in a televised statement.

Saree said the attacks would continue until “Israeli aggression” stopped, referring to the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

After an initial warning of a possible “hostile aircraft intrusion”, which sent residents of the tourist resort of Eilat running for shelter earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli military had said its “systems identified an aerial target approaching Israeli territory”.

“There was no threat or risk to civilians,” and the defensive action was successful, it added. There were no reports of any missiles or drones hitting Israeli territory from the Red Sea on Tuesday.

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Yemen’s Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek Al-Houthi, said on 10 October that if the US intervenes in the Gaza conflict directly, the group will respond by firing drones and missiles, and take other military options.

The Houthis see themselves as part of the so-called “Axis of Resistance” which encompasses Iranian-backed Shia Muslim factions in Iraq and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.

The Movement has battled a Saudi-led coalition since 2015 in a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. During the fighting, the Houthis targeted strategic assets in the Gulf, most notably energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Separately, the Israeli military said it used the “Arrow” aerial defence system for the first time since the 7 October outbreak of the war with Hamas to intercept a surface-to-surface missile in the Red Sea fired towards its territory.

A spokesman told Reuters the two aerial incidents were separate. In the second incident, Israeli fighter jets intercepted other aerial targets, he added.

Last week, Israel accused the Houthi Movement of sending drones that caused explosions in two Egyptian towns on the Red Sea, saying they were intended to strike Israel.

The Pentagon said a US Navy warship, on 19 October, intercepted three cruise missiles and several drones launched by the Houthi Movement from Yemen, potentially toward Israel.

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