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As of January 28, the war in Yemen continues to intensify with both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis (Ansar Allah) escalating their military operations.
On January 24, the Houthis attacked several targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with ballistic missiles and suicide drones as a part of a new large-scale operation, codenamed “Operation Yemen’s Hurricane 2”.
The Houthis targeted military positions in the southern Saudi provinces of Najran, Jizan and ‘Asir with a number of Samad-1 and Qasef-2K suicide drones as well as several unidentified ballistic missiles.
At the same time, the Houthis targeted the Al Dhafra Air Base and other military positions near the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, with a number of Zulfiqar ballistic missiles. Several military positions located near the city of Dubai were also targeted with a number of Samad-3 suicide drones.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US, who maintains a large presence at the Al Dhafra Air Base, claimed that the Houthi large-scale attack was foiled.
In response to the attack, the Saudi-led coalition escalated its airstrikes on Yemen. Coalition warplanes carried out more than 100 airstrikes on the Houthi-held capital, Sanaa, the central provinces of Ma’rib and al-Bayda, and the southwestern province of Taiz between January 24 and 27.
Furthermore, the UAE-backed Giants Brigades and other proxies of the Saudi-led coalition resumed their ground operations in Ma’rib. On January 25, they managed to capture the district center of Harib from the Houthis.
After withdrawing from Harib district center, the Houthis blew up Aqabat Mal’a, a mountainous route that links Harib with the district of al-Jubah, in order to hinder the advance of the Giants Brigades and their allies.
On January 26, the Houthis struck back by targeting a large gathering of Saudi-led coalition proxies in the 3rd Military District in Ma’rib with a ballistic missile.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said that dozens of Saudi-backed militants were supposedly killed or wounded as a result of the strike.
However, pro-Saudi news sources claimed that the strike killed five civilians and wounded at least 23 others. These claims are yet to be verified.
The missile strike didn’t deter the Giants Brigades and other coalition proxies, who continue to advance in Ma’rib as of January 27. Their next target will likely be the district of al-Jubah.
The Houthis will not likely limit their actions to defensive operations. The group may escalate its drone and missile attacks. Foreign investments and key attractions in the UAE, including Expo Dubai and the Burj Khalifa, have already been threatened by the group’s media wing.