Senior Houthi Officials: We Continue To Seek And Target Israeli Vessels In Red Sea; If U.S. Designates Us As A Terrorist Organization And Our Interests Are Harmed – ‘We Will View This As A Declaration Of War’

November 28, 2023

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Between November 25 and 26, 2023, senior officials of the Houthi Ansar Allah movement issued a series of threats against Israel and the U.S., against the backdrop of the war between Israel and the Palestinian factions headed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The threats were also prompted by Houthi concern that the U.S. might designate it as a terrorist organization, especially after its recent hijacking of a shipping vessel in the Red Sea.[1] Among the threats made, the same officials also vowed to continue to search for Israeli ships in the Red Sea with the aim of attacking them. At the same time, they warned that if the U.S. designated them as a terrorist organization and this designation were to harm Yemeni interests, “we will view this as a declaration of war and then America will discover the disaster of engaging in escalation with Yemen…”

The following are translated excerpts from the Houthi reports:

On November 25, 2023, Hussein Al-’Izzi, the deputy foreign minister of the Houthi Ansar Allah government, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the group is not concerned about U.S. threats to reclassify it as a terrorist organization, since doing so would only discredit the U.S. and “expose its standards.” He said that if a terrorist designation caused harm to Yemen’s interests, this would be considered a declaration of war and “then America will discover the disaster of engaging in escalation with Yemen, the graveyard of empires and first country of attrition in history.” He said that the Houthis are “only interested in respecting those who respect us.”[2]

On November 26, 2023, Hizbullah's Al-Nour Radio reported that the Houthi naval forces had held a tour for journalists on the deck of “the Israeli ship,” the Galaxy Leader, that was hijacked by the Houthis on November 19 and is now being held in the territorial waters of Yemen, near the Al-Hudaydah port area. According to the report, during the tour of the ship a colonel in the Houthi naval forces, Shawqi Al-Qubati, declared that, “The navy of Yemen continues – with open eyes – to search for Israeli ships in the Red Sea, from Bab Al-Mandab [Strait] to Eilat, in order to attack them. This is in accordance with the promise made by the leader of the revolution in Yemen, ’Abd Al-Malik Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, and with the objective of assisting the Palestinian people and its noble resistance.”[3]

These threats follow similar declarations from the commander of the Houthi naval forces on November 22, which stated that the Houthis will continue to take action against Israeli ships and that “every Israeli ship is a legitimate target.”[4]

On November 26, a member of the Houthi Ansar Allah political bureau, Hezam Al-Asad, tweeted in Arabic and in Hebrew that “Today, the Zionist cabinet faces two choices: To stop the aggression, to withdraw and to empty the prisons, which would be a victory for the resistance, the countries, and the factions of the axis, and for the freemen of the [Islamic] nation, and a defeat for the Israeli enemy, America, the Western countries and the regimes of normalization… Or to continue the aggression against Gaza and the crimes against its civilians, which will speed up the removal of the Zionist entity from the region.”[5]


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