After the Houthis attacked a Yemeni airport in December 2020, killing 22 people, the Trump administration put them on the FTO list in January 2021. Concerned about the humanitarian consequences on Yemen, President Joe Biden’s administration withdrew the Houthis off the FTO list in February 2021, shortly after taking office. Following the recent strikes on Israel, the Houthis are being considered for reinstatement to the FTO list by the Biden administration.
Now, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, whom Iran supports, are stepping up their assaults on Israel, prompting the United States military to step in.
In solidarity with Hamas, the Iranian-backed Houthis of Yemen have attacked Israel on several occasions since October 7, when the latter murdered more than 1,200 Israelis and abducted hundreds more. After the Houthis were de-designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the Biden administration in 2021, they intensified their activities inside and outside of Yemen.
The Houthis’ continued and escalating assaults on Israel have the Biden administration wondering whether they should be placed back on the FTO list. On Monday, the Houthis tried to assault Israel in the Red Sea by boarding a vessel that they believed was controlled by Israel. As it was “transiting across the Red Sea,” the USS Thomas Hudner intercepted and neutralized a drone that had been launched at Israel from Yemen by the Houthis.
The long-range air defense system of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted a surface-to-surface missile the day before that was aiming at Eilat. The Israeli Defense Forces and its Air Force have successfully intercepted many missile and drone assaults launched by the Houthis since the first attacks on October 7th by Hamas.
An anticipated “significant escalation” of attacks against U.S. troops in the Middle East was discussed by senior Pentagon officials on Monday. Tensions are rising due to a terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas, which killed at least 1,400 people. In response, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza claimed that at least 5,700 Palestinians, including 2,360 children, have been killed.
According to the United States, initial information does not point to any Iranian participation in the October 7 Hamas attack’s preparation or execution. However, the US asserts that future strikes by other Islamic extremist organizations had “Iranian fingerprints all over them.”