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World Cup 2022: Yemen's Houthis congratulate Saudi Arabia for win over Argentina

In another notable gesture, Palestinian Hamas movement also congratulated the kingdom for defeating Argentina
Saudi Arabia fans celebrate their team's victory over Argentina 2-1 during the Qatar 2022 World Cup football at Lusail Stadium, 22 November 2022 (AFP)
Saudi Arabia fans celebrate their team's victory over Argentina 2-1 during the Qatar 2022 World Cup football at Lusail Stadium, 22 November 2022 (AFP)

The leaders of Yemen's Houthi movement on Tuesday congratulated Saudi Arabia for its 2-1 win against Argentina at the Qatar World Cup on Tuesday, in an unexpected move towards a regional enemy. 

On Tuesday, Daifallah al-Shami, a member of the Houthi political bureau and spokesperson for the information minister in Sanaa, tweeted his praise of the Saudi football team.

"A thousand congratulations for the victory of the Saudi national team over its Argentina team. This victory put Arab football back on the map," Shami said.

Abdul-Qader al-Mortada, the Houthi chairman of the Committee for Prisoners' Affairs, also tweeted "a thousand congratulations" to the Falcons for their win over Argentina in a post he later deleted.

"We wish a similar victory for the rest of the participating Arab teams," Mortada wrote.

The Saudi team broke Argentina's 36-game unbeaten streak, in one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history.

The comments by Yemeni Houthi officials come as a surprise as the two sides have been at war since Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemeni conflict on behalf of the internationally recognised government in March 2015.

The Saudi-led coalition has since launched more than 24,600 air strikes in Houthi-controlled areas, with many targeting civilian infrastructure, while the Houthis have repeatedly targeted the kindgom and its ally the United Arab Emirates with missiles and drones. 

In another notable congratulatory message, head of Hamas' political bureau Ismail Haniyeh congratulated King Salman and the Saudi Arabian people for the kingdom's "great victory" over Argentina.

Ties between the Palestinian movement and Saudi Arabia have been strained since Mohammed bin Salman became crown prince in 2017, and as the kingdom's relations with Israel warmed.

Saudi Arabia arrested 68 Palestinians and Jordanians in 2019 for suspected links to "terrorist organisations", including the former representative of the Palestinian movement Hamas. 

Mohammed al-Khudari was released in October after more than three years of detention in a Saudi prison.

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