Yemen Joins the Israeli War
“In the face of what the Gaza Strip is being subjected to from the brutal American-Israeli aggression, we must carry out our duty by trusting in God and in victory over the oppression of the dear Palestinian people” – Houthi Military Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree
The ongoing Israeli-Hamas war risks spilling over into the broader Middle East region as fighting has intensified across the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. The Yemeni Houthi Military Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree made a televised announcement on 31 October, declaring that the Houthi militants will declare war on Israel in support of Palestinians. The Houthi have already utilised drones and missiles to conduct strikes in Israel, claiming that this third attack against Israel will only end when Israeli aggression in Gaza stops. Several explosions and interceptions of missiles have been reported in the South-Eastern Israeli city of Eilat following the Houthi declaration of war. The IDF have announced that Israeli Combat Aircraft and an ‘Arrow 2’ Anti-Ballistic Missile were launched earlier in order to intercept a number of hostile drones and a Cruise Missile which were detected over the Red Sea heading to Southern Israel. This is the first operational use of the Arrow Air Defence System since the beginning of the war. Additionally, Israeli troops have also begun operations in the West Bank town of Jenin.
“If the war expands any further, we cannot say that Israel would lose, because nothing will remain of Israel to be described as loser or winner” – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani
Recently, Hezbollah have released several videos involving their leader Hassan Nasrallah, who is expected to make a major announcement on Friday 3 November. The group has claimed the following actions: targeted 105 Israeli sites, with 120 soldiers killed and wounded, destroyed 13 military vehicles, disabled volumes of communications equipment and shot down a drone. Please note that this information has not been verified by alternative sources.
Since 7 October dozens of Hezbollah fighters have been killed in the conflict with Israel, with the IDF also announcing that due to escalating tensions, the Israeli Air Force has bombed a Hezbollah Arms depot as a warning to the group. Despite these losses, Hezbollah has likely become emboldened with the Houthi officially joining the war against Israel. Should Hezbollah seriously join the conflict, the balance of power would shift significantly. The militant group claims a military strength of 100,000 troops, with many battle-hardened troops as a result of engagements in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. By comparison, Hamas field approximately 40,000 troops, making the prospect of a full occupation of Gaza a costly one. Although Israel enjoys a significant military advantage, infantry entering Gaza will be fighting at a disadvantage and will likely take heavy casualties in order to achieve a full occupation – especially when stretched amongst other border engagements. Nevertheless, all three groups are heavily reliant on Iran, and represent Iranian interests in the region. Iran has stressed multiple times that they will retaliate and intervene in the conflict if Israel does not withdraw, with related officials posting satellite images of Israeli nuclear facilities alongside threats.
Washington aims to open the Rafah crossing for Americans and foreigners to leave Gaza. This comes as the White House has revealed that Hamas are holding nearly 500 American hostages inside Gaza. Senior US Defence Officials have revealed that dozens of US Special Forces Commandos are present in Israel and will be working alongside US hostage recovery specialists to assist the Israeli forces in recovering hostages taken by Hamas.
Egypt has announced that they will allow approximately 400 foreigners and severely wounded Palestinians from Gaza to leave via the Rafah Border Crossing. The amount of refugees leaving Gaza is expected to increase in the following weeks. However, Egypt has heavily armoured the border with Gaza to prevent unregulated refugee flows into the country. The Egyptian Army has begun to deploy a number of M60A3 Patton Main Battle Tanks and YPR-765 Infantry Fighting Vehicles near the Rafah Border Crossing. Additionally, there are reports of US combat aircraft present over Eastern Syria, most likely to aid in the security of the US Operations Base near Al-Shaddadi in Eastern Syria, which has recently faced several attacks. US carrier groups maintain their positions, and have worked to intercept some missiles launched at Israel from Yemen.
Israel is also facing mounting diplomatic pressure, as the Director of the UN Human Rights New York Office, Craig Mokhiber, resigns over the handling of the conflict, calling it a “Textbook Case of Genocide”. The government of Bolivia has also severed ties with Israel, with the President of Colombia about to follow suit. Chile have issued similar orders to recall their ambassador from Israel over the ‘unacceptable violations of International law’.
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