Houthi rebels in Yemen have promised to strike American assets following their attack on a British vessel.

In Cairo, following the recent Red Sea attack on a British oil tanker, a high-ranking Houthi official in Yemen’s capital is promising to target U.S. interests throughout the region, including military bases in Djibouti, Eritrea, and other locations on the east coast of Africa. Some analysts believe this is part of an Iranian plan to enhance Tehran’s influence in the Middle East.

According to reports from Arab media, the Yemeni Houthis, who predominantly control the north of the country and a portion of the Red Sea coast, launched an attack on the British oil tanker, Andromeda Star. The United States military reported that three missiles fired by the Houthis caused minor damage to the ship. In response, a U.S. drone conducted strikes on Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

Yehya Saree, the Houthi military spokesperson, asserted in a video message broadcasted by Arab media that Houthi forces successfully targeted the Andromeda Star and also intercepted a U.S. drone flying over Houthi territory using air defense systems.

Saree further mentioned that the missiles launched by Houthi forces were appropriately sized to hit the ship directly. Furthermore, their air defense units shot down a U.S. MQ-9 drone over Saadeh, a key Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen.

Threatening the U.S., Hussein al Ezzi, a senior Houthi political figure in Sana’a, tweeted that his group, which governs the capital but lacks international recognition as Yemen’s official government, will strike U.S. interests in the entire region.

Sky News Arabia suggested that the Houthis might target U.S. military installations in Djibouti, Eritrea, or Somalia. However, it remains uncertain whether the Houthis possess the capabilities to execute such an operation.

Mehrdad Khonsari, an Iran expert based in London, surmised that Tehran might be instigating its Houthi allies to divert attention from its primary regional ally, Hezbollah, in Lebanon, a group Israel aims to weaken or dismantle.

Khattar Abou Diab, a political science professor at the University of Paris, opined that Iran is leveraging its proxy forces, including Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, and pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq, to bolster its negotiating position with the U.S. post-2024 elections.

Diab contended that Iran’s goals include advancing its nuclear program and ensuring that amidst the chaos in the region, the international focus remains off its nuclear activities, thereby seeking a new nuclear agreement with the Biden administration.

Joshua Landis from the University of Oklahoma’s Middle East studies program noted that the Gaza conflict is triggering repercussions across various fault lines in the Middle East and beyond.

In the midst of these developments, Egypt persisted in its efforts to mediate a truce between Hamas and Israel to end the Gaza confrontation, although prospects for a breakthrough appear dim among most regional observers.

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