Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas: Israel and Saudi Arabia face similar threats

A spokesman for the Houthis had said that the rebels were ready to fight Israel alongside Hezbollah.

Followers of the Houthi movement shout slogans during a gathering to show support to the movement outside the Presidential Palace in Sanaa (photo credit: REUTERS)
Followers of the Houthi movement shout slogans during a gathering to show support to the movement outside the Presidential Palace in Sanaa
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Patriot missiles blazed skyward in an epic display over Saudi Arabia around midnight on Sunday, as Saudi air defenses intercepted seven missiles fired from Yemen over Riyadh.
The attack was the largest of its kind since Houthi rebels in Yemen began using ballistic missiles to target Saudi Arabia in response to a wide-ranging campaign by the kingdom and its Arab coalition allies.
A spokesman for the coalition condemned the “aggressive and hostile action by the Iran-backed Houthi group.”
Spokesman Turki al-Malki said it shows the Iranian regime “continues to support the armed group with military capabilities.”
Patriot missile batteries deployed around the capital fired salvos to stop the attack.
An Egyptian resident was killed and two were injured during the attack.
Saudi Arabian media reported he died from shrapnel, however, video appeared to show one Patriot missile malfunctioning and slamming into a residential neighborhood.
The man’s name was given as Abdelmontale Ahmed Hussein Ali, from Upper Egypt.
The Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed they had targeted airports in Jizan, Najran and Abha as well as Riyadh in response to Saudi Arabia’s operations in Yemen.
The Houthis have increased their use of ballistic missiles recently. According to Arabic language Masirah TV, the ballistic missiles fired at the kingdom were of the Badr type the Houthis possess. Riyadh is almost 1,300 km. from Yemen.
By the end of 2016, the Houthis had fired 34 ballistic missiles at the kingdom, according to an article in Jane’s by Jeremy Binnie. Iran has allegedly been involved in aiding the rebels to extend their missile capability, but it is not clear how the missiles have been supplied to the Houthis.
In November 2017, they attempted to hit Riyadh for the first time. In December, at Bolling Air Force Base, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley displayed pieces from a Houthi ballistic missile and accused Iran of supplying the Yemenis with them.
Saudi Arabia’s use of Patriot missiles came just one hour after Israel’s Iron Dome system had also been activated near the border of Gaza. This symbolizes the increasingly similar threats the two countries face.
On March 23, a spokesman for the Houthis had said that the rebels were ready to fight Israel alongside Hezbollah.
“We would have fought in the past if Yemen shared a border with Israel. God willing, we will be able to fight in the future.”
According to a translation by David Daoud, one day earlier, Houthi leader Abdel Malek al-Houthi had said if Israel got involved in a new war in Lebanon, the “tribes of Yemen” would come to fight Israel.
The missile war comes as Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has been conducting a major visit to the United States.
The US State Department strongly condemned the missile launches against Riyadh.
With Iran deal critic and hardliner John Bolton taking over as national security advisor in April, the Saudi’s constant reference to the Iran threat will play into his hands to be tough on Tehran.
The missiles fired at Riyadh were therefore a much larger message to Washington, and perhaps to Israel as well.


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