A spokesperson for Yemeni rebels warned Israel not to intervene in the country’s civil war, saying Israeli military bases in Africa are within range of their missiles.
Colonel Aziz Rashid, a member of the rebel alliance that ousted Yemeni President Abbed Rabbo Hadi in 2014, accused Israel of fighting alongside a Saudi Arabia–led coalition that is attempting to reinstate the exiled Yemeni leader, and threatened to strike Israeli military installations. He said his forces would also soon have missiles capable of reaching bases in Israel itself.
“In the event that the military situation develops, all possibilities will be considered,” Rashid told Al Masirah, a news outlet tied to Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Muslim Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement.
Yemeni rebels, consisting primarily of the Houthi movement and loyalists of previously overthrown Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, overtook the capital of Sanaa amid mass protests that demanded Hadi resign after the chaos and increased jihadist activity that followed Saleh’s removal in 2012. Hadi fled to the southern city of Aden, and Saudi Arabia assembled a coalition of Arab countries in an effort to defeat Houthis and their allies and bring Hadi back to power.
Saudi Arabia has accused the Houthis of being a proxy force for the majority-Sunni Muslim kingdom’s greatest regional rival, Iran. Majority-Shiite Muslim Iran has offered the Houthis political support, and both the Gulf and the West suspect Iran of also delivering weapons to Houthi fighters. The Houthis accuse Israel of also conducting strikes against their fighters.
Israeli naval bases in Eritrea’s Dahlak archipelago and Massawa, and a listening post in Amba Soira, were uncovered in a 2012 report by intelligence group Stratfor, but no verified attacks on Yemen have been reported. The Stratfor report found an Iranian military installation in Assab, Eritrea.
Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel as a state, but the two powers have converged amid a U.S.-led campaign to curb the expanding foothold of their mutual foe, Iran, across the Middle East. The U.S. has offered Saudi Arabia political and military support in its aerial bombing campaign in Yemen, despite an outcry about human rights abuses that Riyadh blames on the Houthi movement.
The Houthis, whose Zaidi Shiite Muslim community ruled Yemen until 1962, possess a number of locally produced missiles, including the Qaher-1 and Borkan-1, according to Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim News Agency.