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Yemeni Houthi group officially declared terror organization in Israel by DM Gallant

Houthi terrorists have attacked Israel numerous times since last October

Protesters, mainly Houthi supporters, chant slogans as they rally to show solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Sanaa, Yemen, March 29, 2024. (Photo: Khaled Abdullah/REUTERS)

The Yemeni Houthi movement 'Ansar Allah' was officially designated as a terror organization in Israel on Tuesday by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The move comes after Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists began attacking Israel numerous times since last October in a show of support for the Hamas terror organization, which is also supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Houthis have been firing drones and cruise missiles over a distance of some 1,700 km (1,000 miles) at Israel's southernmost city of Eilat.

While most of its projectiles have either fallen short or were intercepted by the IDF or the international naval alliance in the Red Sea, one Houthi cruise missile recently managed to penetrate air defenses but landed some distance north of the city.

Despite being active for several years, the Houthis so far haven’t been declared a terror organization in Israel. Until Tuesday.

Former Knesset Member and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Zvi Hauser praised Gallant for taking action, saying he hoped Israel’s security system would now carry out an internal review to better prepare for any future threats.

Two years ago, Hauser had already called on the government, led by then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, to declare the Houthis a terror group, citing its Iranian-supplied, long-range cruise missiles and maritime capabilities as potential threats.

“At the basis of my call two years ago was a general, birds-eye stance vis-à-vis the regional issues, as such a step also constitutes an important alignment with the Saudis and the Emiratis against the Iranian axis,” he told the Jerusalem Post.

At the time, the Biden administration had lifted the Houthi’s designation as a terror group, which was implemented under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The U.S. restored the Houthi rebel groups' terror status in January, after numerous attacks on U.S. military vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the designation “an important tool to impede terrorist funding to the Houthis, further restrict their access to financial markets, and hold them accountable for their actions.”

While Gallan'ts designation isn’t expected to have drastic consequences, according to KAN News diplomatic correspondent Amichai Stein, is mainly meant as a strong signal from Israel.

On the other hand, the American designation is critical, Jason Brodsky, policy director of the organization United Against Nuclear Iran, told the Jerusalem Post.

“Any decision to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization contributes to the counterterrorism sanctions architecture globally. The US designation, however, is most critical because of the tools it provides Washington to pursue Houthi fundraising networks, given the primacy of the American economy,” he said.

Brodsky added that the Israeli move could help target any burgeoning coordination between Hamas and the Houthis, adding that the designation "may provide added legal justification for Israeli kinetic activity against the group, as for the first time, the Houthis have opened up another front during a Gaza conflict post-October 7.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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