Houthis, Iraqi Militias Increase Drone Attacks on US, Israeli Targets

The Houthis and the Islamic Resistance of Iraq are collaborating on drone strikes against Israeli-linked shipping

Yemen’s Houthis and the Islamic Resistance of Iraq have carried out a spate of attacks over the weekend against US occupation forces in Syria, Israeli-linked shipping, and other vessels as part of their campaign against Tel Aviv’s Gaza slaughter. Primarily drones have been used for these retaliations against US and Israeli aggression.

The Islamic Resistance is an umbrella group of Shi’ite militias fighting against American forces occupying Syria and Iraq since the US-backed Israeli onslaught in Gaza broke out. On Saturday, following a US bombing of Shi’ite militias in Syria, which killed at least one Sayyed Al-Shuhada Brigades fighter, the Islamic Resistance of Iraq launched a drone strike at the US military’s al-Tanf outpost in Homs, Syria. This illegal base is located near the shared border with Jordan and Iraq. The group took credit for the attack, but no damage or casualties have been reported yet.

The Iraqi group collaborated with Yemen’s Houthis, formally known as Ansar Allah, on a drone strike the same day which targeted four vessels at Israel’s Haifa port. Yahya Saree, the Houthis’ military spokesman, said the Resistance Axis groups targeted two cement tankers as well as two cargo ships for not complying with the Houthis’ declared blockade on the “ports of occupied Palestine.” He said the Houthis also attacked a Shorthorn Express ship in the Mediterranean Sea using drones, adding both missions “successfully achieved their goals.”

Earlier this month, Houthi leader Abdel-Malik al-Houthi said these operations, supported by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq against any ships docked in Israeli ports, will persist “in solidarity with Palestine.”

Al Jazeera described the Israeli response, noting “Israel’s Channel 12 reported an explosion occurred in Haifa at dawn after an air defense missile was launched towards the sea without activating the sirens. Israel’s military did not comment on the Houthi claim but stated in a post on X that it had shot down a drone approaching the country overnight from the east.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM) denied the attack took place but said it had shot down three Houthi drones during the last 24 hours. CENTCOM also added that the Yemeni group launched three anti-ship missiles into the Gulf of Aden but no damage or injuries were reported.

The British maritime security agency UKMTO reported another Houthi attack on Sunday aimed at a merchant ship transiting the Red Sea. According to UKMTO, although damage was inflicted, no injuries were documented and the ship is proceeding to its next port of call. CENTCOM confirmed the ship was the Transworld Navigator and added there were minor injuries among the crewmembers.

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree “claimed the attack, saying the rebels targeted the Transworld Navigator. [He] claimed without offering evidence the rebels instead used a drone boat in the attack, something contradicted by every other report on the assault,” the Associated Press reports. The maritime watchdog, run by the UK Navy, said that a separate incident was detected on Sunday close to Yemen’s Nishtun port, and urged vessels to remain cautious.

The Axis of Resistance, which includes Iran’s IRGC Quds Force, Iraqi as well as Syrian Shi’ite militias, the Houthis, and Lebanese Hezbollah, are generally associated with the fight against US, Israeli, and jihadist forces in the region, including al-Qaeda and ISIS. The Houthis have consistently said they will not stop attacking Israeli-linked shipping until there is a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Their targets now include US and British vessels as a result of the bombing campaign against Yemen launched in January.

Despite a months-long US and UK bombing campaign on Yemen, the Houthis have not been deterred. As the Washington Post detailed, “In November [2023], the Houthis announced they would begin attacking Israeli-linked ships in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Their first major salvo included hijacking a cargo vessel in the southern Red Sea and detaining its crew. Since then, the Pentagon has recorded more than 190 attacks on either U.S. military vessels or commercial shipping off the coast of Yemen, including nearly 100 since waves of U.S. airstrikes began in January.”

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on the Conflicts of Interest podcast. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com, Counterpunch, and the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96.