Houthis publish drill showing raid on mockup of Israeli base, kidnapping of soldiers

In raid dubbed ‘Yemen is the Pillar Support of Palestine,’ commandos seen rampaging through faux ‘command and control center,’ killing top generals and leaders

A clip from Houthi propaganda footage showing a raid on an "Israeli base" which aired February 4, 2024. (Social media/X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A video published Sunday by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebel group showed soldiers drilling for a raid on an Israeli “command and control center” and taking soldiers hostage.

Footage of the raid, dubbed “Yemen is the Pillar Support of Palestine” according to media reports, showed artillery strikes on barren mountains as well as a squad of drones dropping explosives on Israeli and American flags, some of which were covering small structures.

Commandos, some carrying Palestinian flags, were then seen raiding what are meant to be makeshift Israeli military posts, including taking down a “pillbox” made of thin canvas, shooting down surveillance cameras and flags, and tearing apart tents meant to represent military structures, before blowing up the ersatz base.

During the drill, three people dressed as Israeli soldiers were taken captive at gunpoint, including one found sitting at a table with computers, ostensibly meant to represent the command and control center. The footage also appeared to show the Houthi forces killing and capturing top generals and Israeli leaders.

Last month, the Houthis released a clip showing commandos entering a mock Israeli town of three home-like tents, shooting at a poster of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and taking men dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews hostage.

The Houthi rebels — part of the regional Tehran-aligned “axis of resistance” against the United States, Israel and their allies — seized Yemen’s capital Sana’a in 2014 and now control large swaths of the country.

The Houthis have launched a flurry of drone and missile attacks at Israel since the start of its war with Hamas on October 7, but most have failed to reach their targets and many have been intercepted.

Since November, the rebels have also repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea, saying they were avenging Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. But they have frequently targeted vessels with no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade and energy shipments when supply strains are already putting upward pressure on inflation globally.

Around 12 percent of global trade normally passes through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the Red Sea entrance between southwest Yemen and Djibouti.

The attacks led several major shipping companies to suspend use of the route.

The United States and the United Kingdom have launched airstrikes targeting Houthi rebels since January in response to the Iran-backed group’s activities in the Red Sea.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said Sunday airstrikes “will not deter us” and vowed a response after recent operations.

The war in Gaza began on October 7, when some 3,000 Hamas terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. Most of the victims were civilians.

The Houthis say their attacks are in solidarity with the people of Gaza, where the Hamas-run health ministry says more than 27,000 people have been killed in the conflict. However, these figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both Hamas terrorists and civilians, and people killed as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 10,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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