Al-Jazeera: Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades Coordinating With Groups In Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Since October 7; Ansar Allah (Houthis) Put Decision Regarding Crew Of Seized Ship 'At Al-Qassam's Disposal'

March 10, 2024

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In an article published on March 7, 2024, the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera website quoted a commander in the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, who said that Yemen's Iran-backed Ansar Allah Movement (the Houthis) informed the group that its recent escalation in the Red Sea was due to Israel's planned attack on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, and its continued "policy of starvation" in Gaza.[1]

The commander, who asked to remain anonymous, told Al-Jazeera that the Houthis consulted Al-Qassam about mediation to secure the release of the crew of a ship it had seized, and insisted that any decision regarding the ship and its crew was "exclusively in the hands of Al-Qassam." The Houthis informed Al-Qassam that they intended to continue "the battle of the Red Sea" until Israel ended its "aggression" against Gaza and lifted the "siege" on it.

The Al-Qassam commander added that the Palestinian group has been in constant contact with the "battlefronts" in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq since the first hours after it launched its Operation Al-Aqsa Flood invasion of Israel on October 7. Noting that the U.S. attempted, directly and via intermediaries, to induce the groups fighting on each front to stop their attacks, the commander asserted that these overtures "were rejected," as all fronts have resolved to continue fighting until Israel ends its "aggression on Gaza."

Al-Jazeera also spoke to Nasr Al-Din 'Amer, the Houthi Deputy Information Minister, who echoed the Al-Qassam commander's words. Stressing that there was "complete coordination" between the Yemeni group and Al-Qassam regarding the crew of the seized ship, he stated that the Houthis had informed countries which had contacted the group to discuss the matter that it was "at the disposal of the Al-Qassam Brigades."

On November 19, 2023, the Houthis claimed seizing the Galaxy Leader shipping vessel, which it described as an "Israeli ship" in the Red Sea, and towing it to the Yemeni coast.[2] The ship's crew remains in Houthi custody.

The Iran-backed group has recently escalated its attacks on U.S. ships, both military and civilian, off the coast of Yemen, reportedly killing three crew members of U.S. cargo ship True Confidence on March 6 in the first fatalities caused by the Houthis since they began attacking ships.[3] At the end of February, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar daily, which supports Hizbullah, indicated that the Houthis may soon begin targeting Israeli ships in the Mediterranean Sea.[4]


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