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HomenewsYemen’s Houthi rebels claim drone launch against southern Israel

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim drone launch against southern Israel

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim to have launched a drone attack towards Israel’s southern city of Eilat in “retaliation” for the war in Gaza.

Israel reported having destroyed an unidentified “aerial target” over the Red Sea on Tuesday morning.

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Some hours later, a senior Houthi official told the AFP news agency that the Iran-backed Yemeni group had sent drones towards southern Israel.

“These drones belong to the state of Yemen,” Abdelaziz bin Habtour, prime minister of the Houthi government, said.

The Israeli military said it had shot down an approaching “aerial target” outside Israeli airspace, as regional tensions rise amid the Israel-Gaza war.

The incident triggered air raid sirens in the popular Red Sea tourist resort of Eilat and sent residents running for shelter.

After an initial warning of a possible “hostile aircraft intrusion”, the military said in a statement, its “systems identified an aerial target approaching Israeli territory”.

“There was no threat or risk to civilians,” it added.

The statement did not confirm the origin of the suspected drone, but local media reports had suggested that it could have come from northern Yemen, which is run by the Houthis with Iran’s backing.

“This is a concern for Israel because it is already engaged in conflict with the Iran-backed Hezbollah on its northern front,” Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat said, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem.

On October 27, drones caused explosions in the Egyptian Red Sea towns of Taba and Nuweiba, near the Israeli border. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Iran-backed Houthis launched drones and missiles “with the intention of harming Israel”.

The incidents came two days after Hamas, the group running the Gaza Strip, said it launched a rocket towards Eilat. The Israeli military said the rocket landed in an open field.

Also last week, the US military said a navy warship in the northern Red Sea intercepted projectiles launched by Houthis potentially towards Israel.

Regional tensions have been on the rise after Hamas launched a surprise attack inside Israel on October 7. Since then, Hezbollah has been involved in increasingly heavy exchanges of cross-border fire with Israel. Iran denies having any role in the Hamas attack.

Meanwhile, Israel in recent days has expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless bombardment for more than three weeks.

Officials in Gaza say more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air attacks, while in Israel, the death toll has topped 1,400, according to Israeli authorities.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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