The Houthis of Yemen are heavily supported by Iran and have been engaged in a civil war with the internationally recognized government of Yemen since 2014 and control the capital city of Sana'a. (Related: U.S. Navy warship shoots down missiles and drones fired by Iran-backed militants in Yemen – possibly toward Israel.)
Since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Gaza on Oct. 7, the Houthis, part of the "Axis of Resistance" backed by Iran, have rallied behind the Palestinian cause. Its declaration of war against Israel now threatens to open a new front in the country's southeast.
This movement of manpower and materiel comes as the Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon continues to exchange blows with Israel across the country's northern border and as Israel continues to pummel Gaza with airstrikes and incursions.
Meanwhile, militia groups in Iraq and Syria that are heavily supported by Iran have been firing at American troops stationed in both countries.
The United States has deployed more navy ships to the Red Sea to act as a deterrent to prevent the Gaza conflict from spreading. Iran itself has claimed it does not want the war to spread, but Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian indicated that the enemies of Israel could act of their own free will in response to the continued killing of Palestinian civilians.
"Resistance groups will not remain silent in the face of the Zionist regime's crimes and America's full support for the Zionist regime," he said. "They won't wait for anyone's advice. If the situation gets out of control, no party will be safe from the consequences."
In the Houthis' opening move against Israel, military spokesperson Yahyee Saree announced in a televised address that the rebel group had launched a "large number" of ballistic and cruise missiles and drones toward Israel and that it would continue launching such munitions toward the country "to help the Palestinians to victory."
Saree noted that this was the Houthis' third attack on Israel since the beginning of the conflict, confirming that the militant group was behind previous attacks on Israel, the first of which was intercepted by the United States Navy in the Red Sea, and the second of which resulted in minimal building damage to the town of Taba in Egypt, right next to the border with Israel.
The Houthis have, throughout the nearly-decade-long civil war with Yemen, demonstrated their ability to use missiles and drones, having successfully launched them against targets not just in Yemen but also in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which support the government against the Houthis.
The Israeli military has confirmed that it has destroyed unidentified "aerial targets" over the Red Sea, adding that the incident triggered air raid sirens over the popular Red Sea resort town of Eilat.
Saree said the Houthis will continue striking Israel "until the Israeli aggression stops."
Watch this clip of spokesman Yahya Saree declaring its participation in the Israel-Gaza conflict and opening with a salvo of ballistic and cruise missiles and suicide drones launched against southern Israel.