Israeli strike behind blast at Houthi weapons depot in Yemen’s capital — report

Saudi outlet says missiles target precision rockets, drones in Sana’a; Iran-backed group denies claim, says explosion occurred at gas station, as IDF hints Israel not involved

A screenshot purportedly showing a blast at a weapons depot in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, November 30, 2023. (X video screenshot:  used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A screenshot purportedly showing a blast at a weapons depot in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, November 30, 2023. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Israeli strike was behind an explosion at an arms depot in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, Saudi media reported Friday.

Missiles targeted the site Thursday, where drones and precision missiles are stored, the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news network reported. The Israel Defense Forces hinted Friday evening that it was not behind the blast.

“Yemen and the Houthis keep the whole region busy, not just Israel, also the US and other Arab countries. Regarding strikes, I can only comment on things related to the IDF, and I will not comment on what the IDF hasn’t done,” said IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

“There are other players in the area,” he added.

Houthi officials denied the Al-Hadath report, claiming that the blast occurred at a gas station, while Hezam al-Asad, a member of the Iran-backed Houthi’s political bureau, tweeted that it was caused by remnants of a bomb left over from the civil war.

Al-Asad occasionally posts Hebrew-language taunts at Israel.

The Houthis, who control much of Yemen and are part of an “axis of resistance” arrayed against Israel, have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since thousands of Hamas terrorists poured over the border into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping some 240.

The projectiles have all been intercepted or missed their targets.

Houthis also seized an Israeli-linked cargo vessel, the Galaxy Leader, in the Red Sea on November 19, and have vowed to target others.

On Thursday, the United Kingdom said it was sending one of its most advanced naval ships, the HMS Diamond, a Type 45 destroyer, to conduct operations to ensure freedom of navigation, reassure merchant vessels, and ensure the safe flow of trade in the area.

The vessel will join the frigate HMS Lancaster which deployed to the region last year, as well as three mine hunters and a support ship.

The United States has also bolstered its naval presence in the Middle East, deploying two carrier groups to the region.

On Wednesday, a US Navy warship shot down a drone over the South Red Sea launched from a part of Yemen controlled by Houthis, the American military’s Central Command said.

The US Navy downed multiple drones launched from Yemen on November 23, one drone on November 15, and both missiles and drones on October 19, while the Houthis shot down an American drone earlier this month.

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