Sunday February 11, 2024
Vehicles covered in green fabric, carrying the coffins of Yemeni Houthi rebels drive near Sanaa’s Al-Shaab mosque during a funeral ceremony [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]
Seventeen Houthi fighters have been killed in United States and British attacks, the Yemeni rebel group has said through its official media, following public funerals in the capital Sanaa.The US and United Kingdom have been hitting Houthi targets in Yemen since mid-January, in an attempt to get them to cease their attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
“The bodies of a number of martyrs of the nation and the armed and security forces who were martyred as a result of the bombing of the American-British aggression were carried through Sanaa today in a solemn funeral procession,” a Houthi official media said on Saturday, listing their names.
The Iran-backed rebels, who control much of war-torn Yemen including the port of Hodeidah, have been targeting what they say are vessels linked to Israel in response to the war on Gaza.
The US said on Thursday that its military had conducted several raids against missile launchers as Houthi fighters prepared to launch them against commercial shipping and US warships in the Red Sea.
Large numbers of supporters gathered at Sanaa’s Al-Shaab mosque, formerly Al-Saleh mosque, on Saturday for the funerals of the Houthis killed in the attacks.
One of the mourners, Abu Moataz Ghalib, told the AFP news agency that he and others present remained resolute in their position on the war in Gaza.
“We convey our message through these martyrs that it is absolutely impossible for us to abandon our position, which is based on principles and faith, and which forced us to take action,” he said.
On Wednesday the Houthis’ news agency reported that the US and UK had hit targets in Hodeidah province.
On Tuesday, the Houthis said they had targeted US and British ships in two attacks in the Red Sea, causing minor damage but no casualties.
The Red Sea attacks have raised insurance premiums for shipping companies, forcing many to avoid the vital route that normally carries about 12 percent of global maritime trade.
On Friday, Steve Fagin, the US ambassador to Yemen, said on X via the US Embassy’s account, that the US will classify the Houthis as a terrorist group at the end of next week, unless the group ceases its attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
The US announced this move in January, giving the Houthis 30 days to cease the attacks before it went into effect.
“In response to these continuing threats and attacks, the United States announced the designation of Ansarallah, also known as the Houthis, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement at the time.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES