Yemen’s Houthi Missile Launch Centers and the Potential Targets
The Gaza-Israel war, which broke out on October 7 of last year, sparked another conflict in the Middle East. The Ansar Allah (Houthi) group began attacking Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea in November and escalated their attacks to target vessels coming from or sailing toward Israel. As the Houthi group continued its assaults on the shipping lanes in the Red Sea, the U.S. and the U.K. navies intervened to intercept Houthi missiles and drones. However, the conflict escalated, and the U.S. and U.K. began on Friday launching air strikes on targets in Houthi-controlled areas.
Since November, the Iran-backed Houthis have posed a severe danger to ships. Many shipping companies have shunned the Red Sea, ordering their vessels to sail through other safe routes. Though a U.S.-led multinational military coalition was established last month to protect commercial ships, the Houthis threat remains unaddressed.
The Houthis have active missile launch centers overlooking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and these centers have temporary missile depots within a complex geography. They also have tactical stores and corridors through which they can transport the missiles from the strategic depots in Ibb, Dhamar, Sana’a, Amran, Saada, and Al-Bayda to the launch centers,
However, new missile launch centers have been activated. It remains unknown if activating these missile launch centers is a preparation to strike targets further than the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. So, what are the new launch centers that have been activated?
Center (1): Launching missiles towards the Red Sea, west and north
The Red Sea coast and islands, particularly ports of Al-Hudaydah, Al-Salif, Ras Issa, Al-Luhayah, and Kamaran Island, in the Houthi-controlled Al-Hudaydah and Hajjah provinces, remain the first launch center from which ships were attacked. The Houthi group also fired missiles from them towards Israel in the north of the Red Sea.
The group also has a temporary store for missiles in some areas, such as Abs and Shafar in Hajjah as well as Alqanawis, Alzaydiah, Aldhehi, Bajil, and Alduraihimi in Al-Hudaydah.
Recently, the Houthis have prepared to build reserve missile depots in the mountainous provinces adjacent to the Red Sea coast, such as Hajjah, Raymah, Al-Mahwit, and Saada. The missiles are transported from their strategic depots to launch centers.
Center (2): Firing missiles toward Bab al-Mandab, south of the Red Sea
The second launch center overlooks the southern Red Sea. The Houthis have a missile launch center in the mountains in the Al-Amaki area and the old airport in Taiz province. This center overlooks Mocha, Bab Al-Mandab, and Mayon Island, with an air distance of no more than 130 km.
The military camps and sites in Ibb and Dhamar governorates are considered strategic and tactical warehouses, which can ensure the timely supply of missiles to the launch center.
Center (3): Launching missiles toward the Gulf of Aden:
The Mukayras Heights in Al Bayda province are considered one of the most important missile launch centers as they overlook the Gulf of Aden with an aerial distance of approximately 70 km. This center can threaten the shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. The camps in the city of Radaa, the capital of Al-Bayda, are considered a tactical and strategic depot for ballistic and naval missiles.
Center (4): Alhazm district in AlJawf province
Missile launch centers have been activated in Alhazm City, the capital of Al-Jawf, which is on the border with Saudi Arabia.
From the Al-Jawf center, Houthi missiles hit Marib city, Saudi and Emirati facilities. They also attempted to target the Israeli port of Eilat despite the long distance, which exceeds a thousand kilometers. Al-Jawf is a missile launch center and a tactical missile depot.