Hamas, Houthis hold rare meeting on Gaza war, Israel: Palestinian sources

Hamas, Houthis hold rare meeting on Gaza war, Israel: Palestinian sources
Yemen's Houthi rebels, Hamas, and other Palestinian groups met last week to discuss Israel's war on Gaza and ways to coordinate.
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The Houthi rebels have proclaimed support for Palestinians in Gaza and targeted what they say is Israel-linked shipping [Getty/file photo]

Senior figures from Hamas and Yemen's Houthi movement held a rare meeting to discuss coordinating their actions against Israel, Palestinian factional sources told AFP on Friday.

The Houthis have targeted Red Sea shipping for months since the Israel began its indiscriminate and deadly military assault on Gaza on October 7, saying they are targeting Israeli-linked vessels in solidarity with Palestinians under attack in the enclave.

Israel has killed at least 31,553 people and injured tens of thousands more ever since its assault began.

According to sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, leaders from the two Palestinian Islamist groups, as well as the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), held an "important meeting" with Houthi representatives last week.

The groups discussed "mechanisms to coordinate their actions of resistance" for the "next stage" of the war in Gaza, the sources said without identifying where the meeting took place.

The Palestinian groups and the Houthis also talked about a possible Israeli ground assault into the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, said the sources, who requested anonymity.

According to the United Nations, around 1.5 million people are crowded into and around Rafah, most of whom are displaced and crammed against the Egyptian border in dire and unhygienic living conditions.

Diseases are widespread in Rafah and this is likely to increase the death toll in the enclave.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Friday he had approved the military's plan for an attack on Rafah.

The Houthis confirmed they would continue their attacks on Red Sea shipping to "support the Palestinian resistance", according to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources.

The rebels' leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi said on Thursday their attacks would expand to target ships avoiding the Red Sea by navigating past South Africa's Cape of Good Hope.