Yemen's Houthi Group Vows to Expand Operations Against Israel if Rafah Invaded
Yemen's Houthi group has vowed to expand its operations against Israel if it escalates the war in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. "We say to the Israeli entity that if there is any escalation in Rafah or Gaza, you should know that our path is escalation," Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council of the Houthis, said in a statement late Saturday. He added that "as long as the human tragedy in Gaza worsens, and the injustice and mass killing of people in Gaza continues, operations will expand according to field data." The Houthi group has been launching attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea since November of last year.
The US military said Sunday it had struck more devices and missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea. The strikes occurred on Saturday between 4:00 and 5:00 pm (1300-1400 GMT) north of Al-Hudaydah, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on social media. American "forces successfully conducted self-defense strikes against two unmanned surface vessels (USV) and three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM)... that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea," the statement said. The Houthi-run Al-Masirah television on Saturday night reported three strikes on the Salif port area.
Ahmed Al-Mabaqi , the governor of the Yemeni Central Bank, stated on Sunday that the second installment of $250 million from a Saudi grant totaling about $1 billion for a year will enter the country's budget "today or tomorrow" to support salary payments. Al-Mabaqi told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai that the remaining amount of the Saudi grant, which began in August, has not yet been transferred. In August last year, Saudi Arabia approved a $1.2 billion grant for the internationally recognized Yemeni government to help address the budget deficit amid the economic crisis plaguing the war-torn country. The first installment of $250 million reached the Yemeni government in August last year.
The threat of an Israeli incursion into Gaza's southernmost town of Rafah persisted Sunday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising "safe passage" to civilians displaced there. In an interview airing Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated his intention to extend Israel's military operation to the city. Despite international alarm over the potential for carnage in a city crammed with more than half of the Gaza Strip's 2.4 million people, Netanyahu told ABC News: "We're going to do it." But it is unclear where such a large number of people, who are pressed up against the border with Egypt and sheltering in makeshift tents, can go.