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US sanctions Houthi officials for ‘worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen’

THE United States has imposed sanctions on two leading Houthi officials for “worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” the Treasury Department confirmed on Tuesday.

In a statement it said that it had blacklisted Houthi naval forces’ chief of staff Mansur al-Sa’adi and commander of the Houthi-aligned Yemeni air force and air defence forces Ahmad Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi.

Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M Gacki said: “The United States condemns the destruction of civilian sites by the Houthi militants designated today.

“These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

The sanctions amount to US asset freezes and have raised eyebrows given President Joe Biden’s refusal to take similar measures against Saudi Arabia, which has led the coalition’s deadly bombing campaign, pushing Yemen to the brink of the worst global famine in more than a century.

Washington also alleges that the Iranian Quds Forces, an elite branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has provided military guidance and training to the Houthis. 

This support, the Treasury statement says, has allowed the Houthis to conduct “heinous” attacks on civilian infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, a reference to the group’s recent drone bombings on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport.

The Treasury accuse the Houthis of waging “a bloody war” against the Yemeni government using missiles, explosives, naval mines and drones with the support of Iran.

But the US faces charges of hypocrisy, having, along with Britain and France, supplied weapons and tactical support to the Saudi-led coalition since bombing began in March 2015. 

It has seen the targeting of schools, hospitals and wedding parties, along with the destruction of Yemen’s infrastructure.

Despite pledging to end support for such attacks, Mr Biden said he would assist Riyadh in “defending its sovereignty” against external threats.

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