More conflict with Israel: Houthis and Hamas plan “next phase of war”

More conflict with Israel
Houthi and Hamas plan for “next phase” of war

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According to the Houthi leader, this is nothing less than Israel's “circumvention”: his fighters discussed with Hamas in a secret meeting how the war in the Gaza Strip could further flare up if Israel launched its offensive in Rafah.

According to Palestinian sources, high-level representatives of the Islamist Hamas and pro-Iranian Houthi militias from Yemen spoke at a meeting about further “coordinating” their operations against Israel. Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources said it marked the “next phase” of the war in Gaza. A Houthi official said both sides wanted to escalate the conflict with Israel.

Leaders of two Islamist Palestinian groups, the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Houthi representatives held an “important” meeting last week, according to Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources. It is about “the means of coordinating their resistance activities” for the “next phase” of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian officials did not give any information about the location of the meeting. A Houthi militia official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the meeting took place in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. It's about Israel's “expansion of conflicts and encirclement,” as Houthi leader Malek al-Hudi declared in a speech on Thursday.

Israel continues its Rafah offensive

A Palestinian official said it was about the “complementary role” of Houthi fighters “with Palestinian groups, especially in the event of an Israeli offensive against Rafah.” Israel has long declared an attack on the city in the south of the Gaza Strip and has stuck it out despite international criticism, for example, from the federal government. However, no date has been announced for the start of the offensive in southern Gaza.

Hamas and Houthi militias are part of an anti-Israel, Iran-backed “axis of resistance” that also includes Shiite Hezbollah militias in Lebanon and militias in Iraq. The war in Gaza was triggered by a major attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, in which about 1,160 people were killed and about 250 taken hostage in the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli reports.

Subsequently, Israel has carried out a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 31,500 people have been killed so far. Houthi rebels have been attacking ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden for months in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza war. Because of the attacks, many shipping companies are now avoiding the vital maritime trade route, through which twelve percent of global maritime trade is typically carried.

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