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New US sanctions target Houthi support one day after military strikes

The State and Treasury departments announced new sanctions Friday aimed at damaging financial support for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The sanctions come a day after joint U.S.-U.K. airstrikes Thursday hit more than a dozen targets in Yemen, killing five people, Houthi leadership said. The attack was in response to a Houthi attack on civilian shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

“Iran’s financial support to the Houthis has fueled their unrelenting attacks on global commerce in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” the State Department said in a statement.

The sanctions specifically target two companies in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates involved in shipping goods, with profits supporting Houthis. It also targets four vessels associated with the companies.

The actions focus on Sa’id al-Jamal, described as an Iranian military-linked financier for Iranian support of the Houthis. Al-Jamal was designated as a terrorist by the U.S. government in 2021 for his financial support of the Houthis.

As a consequence of the sanctions, the vessels will be seized if they enter U.S. waters. It also prevents Americans from doing business with the companies.

President Biden justified Thursday’s strikes as a necessary defensive strike against a force that has targeted American vessels in the Red Sea.

“These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes,” Biden said.

“I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary,” he added.

Leaders of the Houthi rebel group released a statement Friday promising to respond to the massive U.S. and U.K. strikes.

“The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for this criminal aggression against our Yemeni people, and it will not go unanswered and unpunished,” the statement reads.

Source: The Hill

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