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Houthis Training To Attack Israel

ADH Staff WriterJune 4, 2024
2024.06.04 - ARTICLE 3.jpg

In recent months, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been conducting a series of training exercises in preparation for a potential invasion of Israel, according to reports from a local Yemeni journalist who spoke with Israel’s Kan public broadcaster. The broadcaster aired footage showing Houthi forces in a live fire exercise simulating an attack on the southern Israeli city of Dimona. The footage depicted armed men moving from house to house in a mock urban area featuring over a dozen two-story buildings, representing the kind of structures the Houthis might target.

The journalist, who requested anonymity, revealed that those participating in the exercises are taking the preparations seriously. The drills are not only aimed at confronting Israel but also preparing for potential direct engagements with the U.S., UK, UAE, or any other military force perceived as a threat by the Houthis.

Since November, the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have launched several drone and missile strikes against Israel and targets in the Red Sea, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. These actions are declared as demonstrations of solidarity with Palestinians amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The conflict escalated dramatically on October 7 when Hamas militants attacked southern Israeli communities, resulting in around 1,200 deaths and the taking of 251 hostages.

Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi claimed in an undated recording that 296,000 individuals have undergone training, and the Houthi army can muster 350,000 fighters. He also mentioned that the Houthis have conducted 719 training exercises, although he did not specify their purposes.

Despite these claims, experts and former Houthi officials like Ali Al Bukhaiti have dismissed the threats as propaganda. Bukhaiti, a former Houthi spokesman now based in the UK, emphasized that the Houthis lack the naval capability to launch a major invasion of Israel and that neighboring countries would not permit passage for such an endeavor. He described the notion of a Houthi invasion of Israel as “ridiculous,” given Israel’s superior air and naval power.

The Houthi group has used the threats to garner support and praise within the Arab and Muslim world, despite the practical limitations. Bukhaiti noted that the Houthis have shown no restraint in causing civilian casualties, indicating their willingness to use violence indiscriminately.

Additionally, Houthi forces are currently engaging in a recruitment drive, linking their efforts to support for the Palestinians. In Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, anti-Israel and anti-American sentiments are visibly promoted, with signs and slogans calling for boycotts and declaring “Death to America, Death to Israel.”

In recent developments, Israel’s air defense systems intercepted a missile fired by the Houthis aimed at the southern port city of Eilat. This follows a series of ballistic missile, cruise missile, and drone attacks by the Houthis, most of which have been intercepted or have missed their targets. However, one cruise missile did strike near Eilat, and the Houthis have also targeted commercial and military ships in the Red Sea.

The Houthis’ actions are part of a broader strategy to align themselves with Iran’s “axis of resistance” against Israel, which includes groups like Hamas. Their attacks in the Red Sea have threatened global shipping routes, underscoring the wider impact of their operations beyond the immediate conflict zones.

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