The Israeli military said Tuesday it had thwarted an aerial attack by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, as fears rise across the region that the Israel-Hamas war could widen.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, a spokesperson for the Houthi forces, told Houthi-owned Al-Masirah TV that ballistic missiles and drones had been launched against targets in Israel in what he said was the third operation in support of the Palestinian people.
He added that there were plans for more strikes until the “Israeli aggression” ceased.
“Our armed forces launched a large batch of ballistic and winged missiles and a large number of drones at various targets of the Israeli enemy,” he said, referring to all of Israel as “occupied territories.”
The Houthis are a Shia political and military organization in Yemen that have been fighting a civil war in the country against a coalition backed by Saudi Arabia. They have voiced support for the Palestinians and organized protests in Yemen against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that it had used its Arrow aerial defense system for the first time to successfully intercept a surface-to-surface missile that was fired from the area of the Red Sea.
The use of the Arrow defense system, which is designed to intercept high altitude missiles, indicates the Houthis used a more advanced, long-range missile in the attempted attack.
Israeli jets also intercepted what the IDF described as “aerial threats” in the area. The IDF said all threats were intercepted outside of Israeli territory.
The attempted strikes on Israel mark an escalation by the Iran-backed Houthis, with regional rivalries heating up despite the United States scrambling to contain a potential Middle Eastern war.
Read more about the risk of a wider regional conflict.