The former spokesman for the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen told Israel's Channel 12 news that the terror group is a growing international threat and could potentially target Israel’s commercial center in Tel Aviv.
Ali Al Bukhaiti, who resides in the United Kingdom, claims he left the group in 2015 after it allegedly transformed from an “educational movement” to “a terror group.”
“The Houthis aren’t just dangers to the citizens of Yemen, they are dangerous to the region and the entire world,” Al Bukhaiti warned.
The former senior Houthi official emphasized the need to take the Tehran-supported Yemenite terror group seriously.
“The world doesn’t believe that, but today the world has started paying a price,” Al Bukhaiti said about the increasing number of Houthi terror attacks against international commercial vessels in the Red Sea region.
The Houthis are officially acting in solidarity with Gaza but are acting according to direct orders from the Iranian ayatollah regime against Israel and Western interests in the region.
The terror militia from Yemen has repeatedly targeted Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat with ballistic cruise missiles. However, the former Houthi spokesman warned that the terror group could potentially strike central Israel, including Tel Aviv, if it obtains longer-range and more accurate missiles from Iran.
“It can be assumed that in the future if the Houthis have missiles with longer ranges and greater accuracy, they will hit Israel, they will hit Tel Aviv,” Bukhaiti warned. “From their point of view, there is no difference between a civilian and a member of the military,” he added.
Bukhaiti believes that the Houthis have gained in popularity in the Arab and Muslim world with their attacks on international commercial vessels. He also believes that Hamas and the Houthis have become more popular movements in the region due to their respective attacks on the Jewish state and its interests.
The U.S. military recently eliminated three Houthi terror boats in the Red Sea whose operatives attacked the Danish-owned Maersk Hangzhou vessel.
“The US Navy helicopters returned fire in self-defense, sinking three of the four small boats, and killing the crews. The fourth boat fled the area. There was no damage to US personnel or equipment,” the U.S. Central Command stated following the confrontation.
In December, the United States announced the formation of an international task force to focus on confronting the Houthi security threat in the Red Sea. However, the Houthi attacks on vessels have continued despite the Operation Prosperity Guardian initiative.
The Biden administration has so far embraced a more defensive military posture in the war, however, senior Pentagon officials are reportedly pressuring U.S. President Joe Biden to adopt a more proactive and assertive approach against the Houthi threat, according to the New York Times.
Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, a retired commander of the Fifth Fleet, stressed the need for a strong U.S. military response to the Houthi aggression against commercial and military assets in the Middle East.
“Not responding when US forces are attacked in any fashion risks the lives of US sailors and marines if a missile were to make it past US defenses,” Donegan warned.
He argued that “it also sets a new precedent that attacking a US ship carries low risk of retaliation, and as we have seen, invites more attacks from the Houthis.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.