UK and U.S. sanction senior Houthis over Red Sea shipping attacks

Major General Muhammad Nasser al-Atifi, defence minister of the administration of Yemen’s Houthi rebels in control of the capital Sanaa, attends an official parade commemorating the eighth anniversary of the Houthi takeover of Sanaa on September 20, 2022.

Mohammed Huwais | Afp | Getty Images

Britain and the United States on Thursday said they had sanctioned four senior Houthi officials for their roles in supporting or directing attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping and stoked fears of global inflation. They have also deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilize the Middle East.

Those sanctioned were Houthi Defense Minister Mohamed Nasser al-Atifi, Commander of Houthi Naval Forces Muhammad Fadl Abd Al-Nabi, coastal defense forces chief Muhammad Ali al-Qadiri and Muhammed Ahmad al-Talibi, who the two governments described as the Houthi forces director of procurement.

Yemen’s Houthi followers take part in a tribal parade held against the United States-led aerial attacks launched on sites in Yemen, and solidarity with Palestinians, on January 22, 2024, near Sana’a, Yemen. 

Mohammed Hamoud | Getty Images

“The Houthis’ persistent terrorist attacks on merchant vessels and their civilian crews … threaten to disrupt international supply chains and the freedom of navigation, which is critical to global security, stability, and prosperity,” the U.S. Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement.

“Today’s joint action with the United Kingdom demonstrates our collective action to leverage all authorities to stop these attacks.”

Britain said the four men were involved in acts which “threaten the peace, security and stability of Yemen”.

In this handout image provided by the UK Ministry of Defence, a Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 is prepared for take off to carry out air strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen at RAF Akrotiri on January 22, 2024 in Akrotiri, Cyprus. 

U.K. MoD | Getty Images

The U.S. action freezes any U.S.-based assets of those targeted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

On Monday, U.S. and British forces carried out a new round of strikes in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and surveillance capabilities used by the Iran-aligned group against Red Sea shipping.

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