Connect with us

Who are Yemen’s Houthis and why did they attack Israel?



Who are Yemen’s Houthis and why did they attack Israel?

Houthi fighters fire anti-tank grenades during a military manoeuvre near Sanaa

Houthi fighters fire anti-tank grenades during a military manoeuvre near Sanaa, Yemen, October 30, 2023. Houthi Media Center/Handout via Acquire Licensing Rights

DUBAI, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Yemen’s Houthis have joined the Israel-Hamas war raging more than 1,000 miles from their seat of power in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, declaring on Oct. 31 they had fired drones and missiles at Israel in attacks that highlight the regional risks of the conflict.

Here are some details about the group.


In the late 1990s, the Houthi family in far north Yemen set up a religious revival movement for the Zaydi sect of Shi’ite Islam, which had once ruled Yemen but whose northern heartland had became impoverished and marginalised.

As friction with the government grew, they fought a series of guerrilla wars with the national army and a brief border conflict with Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia.


The war began in late 2014 when Sanaa was seized by the Houthis. Worried by the growing influence of Shi’ite Iran along its border, Saudi Arabia intervened at the head of a Western-backed coalition in March 2015 in support of the Saudi-backed government.

The Houthis established control over much of the north and other big population centres, while the internationally recognised government based itself in Aden.

Yemen has enjoyed more than a year of relative calm amid a U.N.-led peace push. Saudi Arabia has been holding talks with the Houthis in a bid to exit the war.

But the Houthi attacks on Israel have increased the risks of conflict for Saudi Arabia.


Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said in a televised statement the group had launched a “large number” of ballistic missiles and drones towards Israel on Oct. 31, and there would be more such attacks to come “to help the Palestinians to victory”.

Saree said there had been three Houthi attacks on Israel since the start of the conflict, appearing to confirm they were behind a drone attack on Oct. 28 that resulted in blasts in Egypt and was blamed by Israel on the Houthis, and an Oct. 19 incident in which the U.S. navy intercepted three cruise missiles.


Part of an “Axis of Resistance” backed by Iran, the Houthis have rallied behind the Palestinians since Hamas attacked Israel.

Saree blamed Israel for instability in the Middle East, saying the “circle of conflict” in the region was being expanded by its “continued crimes”. The Houthis would continue to mount attacks “until the Israeli aggression stops”.

The Houthis’ slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam”.


The Houthis have demonstrated their missile and drone capabilities during the Yemen war in attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, targeting oil installations and vital infrastructure.

The Saudi-led coalition accuses Iran of arming, training and funding the Houthis. The group denies being an Iranian proxy and says it develops its own weapons.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Acquire Licensing Rights, opens new tab

Maha reports on energy and commodities across the Middle East region. She has been working as a Reuters journalist for the past 15 years and has covered stories across Egypt, the Gulf, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. She has previously managed the Lebanon, Syria, Jordan bureau. Contact: @mahaeldahan

Source link

More in Internashonal





To Top