Houthi rebels vow to retaliate against airstrikes

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As the Israel-Hamas war teeters on the brink of a wider and deadly regional conflict, Iran-backed Houthi rebels vowed on Sunday that joint US-British retaliatory airstrikes “will not go unanswered and unpunished”.

“These attacks will not deter us from our moral, religious and humanitarian stance in support of the steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” Houthi spokesman Amin Hayan said. said in a statement.

US and British forces struck 36 rebel targets in Yemen on Saturday, a day after targeting 85 sites linked to other Iran-backed militant groups in Syria and Iraq. Friday's airstrikes were in response to months of attacks on US bases, including a drone attack on a US base in Jordan near the Syrian border that killed three Americans.

The Houthis have been targeted in retaliation for attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea since November. It is the third time British and US forces have jointly targeted the Houthis, who say they stand in solidarity with Palestinians in war-torn Gaza, who have been bombarded since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli border communities.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the latest US-British response was “intended to reduce the ability of the Houthis to continue their reckless and illegal attacks”.

US Attacks Pro-Iran Groups: Target new sites in Yemen

Developments:

∎ The Palestinian death toll has risen to 27,365, and Gaza's health ministry announced Sunday that most of the victims were women and children. More than 66,000 people have been injured and about 8,000 unaccounted for, the ministry said.

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∎ Iran warned the US not to target two cargo ships suspected of serving as staging areas for Iranian commandos. The Behshad and Chavis are registered as merchant vessels with a Tehran-based company authorized by the US Treasury to assist Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

∎ The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that at least two children were killed in an Israeli attack on a kindergarten in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using schools and other public spaces as cover and civilians as human shields.

An attack by Iran-backed militias on a US base in Jordan that killed three American soldiers a week ago would not have happened if Donald Trump had been president, a GOP presidential hopeful said Sunday.

“I was in control of Iran,” Trump said Sunday morning futures. He told a story from his presidency that the U.S. “hit them very hard” for what Iran had done. Iran was forced to retaliate, Trump said.

“They feel they have to do it, and I understand that,” Trump said. They called me to say, “We're going to hit a certain spot, but we're not going to hit it, it's going to be outside the perimeter.” So they aimed those missiles and said, 'Please don't hit us, we're not going to hit you.' It was respect, we had respect.

Trump was apparently referring to Iran's attack on an air base in Iraq where US troops are stationed. The January 2020 attack was in retaliation for the US assassination of an Iranian general. However, the Pentagon said several Iranian missiles hit the base that day. Hundreds of American soldiers suffered brain injuries.

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The drone strike a week ago near the Syrian border was the third in six months targeting the site known as Tower 22. The three U.S. deaths were the first by enemy fire in the region since the war began nearly three months ago. Iran has denied involvement in the attack, saying militants in the region do not take orders from Tehran.

The Israeli military said in a statement that an Israeli raid in southern Gaza found the headquarters of the Khan Younes force, which included the office of Mohammed Shinwar, the brother of Hamas political leader Yahya Shinwar. The Alkatsia outpost was used to train militants who carried out the October 7 shocking attacks on border Israeli communities, the statement said. The attackers killed more than 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages, more than 100 of whom are being held captive in Gaza.

The outpost contained models simulating the entrance gates to the kibbutzim and other raided areas. Militants defending the outpost were “destroyed” by sniper fire, tank shelling and airstrikes, the statement said.

A senior Hamas official said Hamas leaders needed more time to study the proposed framework for a cease-fire, but “no deal yet.” Osama Hamdan said Hamas was reviewing the framework of Qatar, Egypt and the United States, but Hamdan said his militant organization was not backing down from its demands, including the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza, the lifting of the blockade on the enclave and the rebuilding of the war. – Affected cities and towns, provision of humanitarian aid, hostage-taking agreement and a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected many of those demands. Hamden, speaking at a conference in Lebanon, noted that Egypt and Qatar had tried to broker a deal, but blamed Israel's “stubbornness” for the failure to reach an agreement.

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“We respect the efforts of the brothers in Egypt and Qatar to reach a sustainable ceasefire agreement in Gaza,” Hamdan said.

The Biden administration is hampering Israel's war effort and Republican presidential hopes Donald Trump Israel's national defense minister says Tel Aviv will give freedom to crush Hamas. Itamar Ben-Ghir, who leads a far-right political party key to Netanyahu's ruling coalition, has repeatedly criticized Netanyahu in recent weeks for being willing to cut a deal with Hamas to free more than 100 hostages. Despite staunch support for Israel in the face of global dismay at the destruction and death fueled by Israel's occupation, Ben-Khir has worlds of sharp edges for President Joe Biden.

“Instead of giving us full support, Biden is busy giving humanitarian aid and fuel (to Gaza) that goes to Hamas,” Ben-Gvir said. Wall Street Journal. “If Trump is in power, America's behavior will be completely different.”

Iran condemned the US-British airstrikes, backed by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand, as a violation of Yemen's territorial integrity and international law. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Khanani urged the international community to hold the countries involved accountable.

“The military adventurism of the US and Britain has been marked by military attacks in regional countries, a continuation of the misguided approach and policy of these two countries to resort to militarism to advance their illegitimate objectives in the region,” Kanani said. The strikes “were in stark contrast to Washington and London's repeated reluctance to see war and conflict spread to the region.”

Contributed by: Associated Press

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