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Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen declare war against Israel, claim responsibility for missile and drone attacks on the southernmost Israeli city of Eilat

The Houthis seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014 and control large swaths of the country. They are considered “part of the axis of resistance” against Israel along with the terrorist outfit Hamas which is also backed by Tehran. 

On 31st October, Iran-backed Houthis rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for launching missile and drone attacks on the Israeli city of Eilat and vowed to continue targeting the Jewish state. Seemingly with this, the Iran-backed Houthi group has officially joined the ongoing Israel-Hamas war

The development comes after Israel’s military informed that it shot down approaching “aerial targets” off the Red Sea city of Eilat. It asserted that the attacks were launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. These attacks were aimed at the southernmost city of Eilat but they were neutralised before they could enter Israeli territory, the Israeli military said. 

The IDF added, “All the threats were intercepted outside the territory of the State of Israel. No intrusion into Israeli territory was detected.” 

Strikingly, the Israeli military said that the Arrow air defense system intercepted a surface-to-surface missile launched from the “Red Sea area” at Israel. This was the first operational use of the long-range system during the war with Hamas.

Following Israel’s allegations, the Houthi outfit said that it launched a “large number” of drones and missiles towards the Israeli city. In a televised statement, the spokesperson for the Houthis, Yahya Sria said that it was the third attack that targeted Israel adding that there would be more such attacks. 

Sria said that the aerial assault, comprising drones as well as ballistic and cruise missiles, was carried out “out of a sense of religious, moral, humanitarian, and national responsibility” for the people of Gaza, in the face of the weakness of the Arab world, and of the collusion of some Arab countries with Israel.”

He added that the operation was prompted by “the demands of the Yemeni people.” 

Strikingly, the Iranian-backed Houthis slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.”

Earlier in the day (31st October), Abdelaziz bin Habtour, prime minister of the Houthi government, said that “these drones belong to the state of Yemen.” He added that they are fighting with “words and drones.”

The Houthis seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014 and control large swaths of the country. They are considered “part of the axis of resistance” against Israel along with the terrorist outfit Hamas which is also backed by Tehran. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning (local time), suspected drone infiltration sirens sounded in the Israeli city of Eilat. Initially, the IDF stated that it had identified an “aerial target” approaching Israeli territory. Later, it confirmed that fighter jets had intercepted two targets, believed to have been drones launched from Yemen.

It is important to note that people by lakhs in numbers have been displaced after the 7th October terrorist attack and incursion by the Hamas terrorists on southern Israel and Hezbollah attacks in the north. These displaced Israelis have been temporarily housed in the southern resort city which has now become the target point for Iran-backed terror outfits. 

Prior to that, on Friday (27th October), a fighter jet intercepted a target over the Red Sea which was apparently a drone heading for Israel. It was intercepted shortly after an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) slammed into the Egyptian town of Taba on the Red Sea, wounding six people. 

According to the IDF, the early-morning strike in Taba originated from “the Red Sea area.” It was apparently a reference to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. 

Taba is situated on the Israeli border, approximately 10 kilometers (six miles) away from Eilat.

The explosions in Egypt followed an incident where Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen attempted to launch missiles towards Israel through the Red Sea earlier this month. The Pentagon confirmed that a US Navy warship intercepted three missiles fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, possibly targeting Israel, as they headed north.

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