Yemen's Houthis launch their largest Red Sea drone and missile attack

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

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the United Kingdom have imposed sanctions on four officials of the forces of Ansarallah, commonly known as the Houthis, for their support to the Houthis’ attacks against commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including holding civilian crews hostage, as US claims.

In particular, OFAC gave the names and the positions in a release of the four individuals facing sanctions.

Those sanctioned were Houthi Minister of Defense Mohamed al-Atifi, Muhammad Fadl Abd al-Nabi, the Commander of the Houthis’ maritime forces, Muhammad Ali al-Qadiri, the Houthi coastal defense forces chief and director of the Houthi naval college, and Muhammad Ahmad al-Talibi, who the two governments and specifically OFAC described as the Houthi forces director of procurement.

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

The individuals are also subject to a travel ban and will be unable to enter the UK.

“The Houthis’ persistent terrorist attacks on merchant vessels and their civilian crews lawfully transitting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden 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.”

Since October 2023, the Houthis have launched numerous ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles against vessels transiting the Red Sea and surrounding waterways, striking, and causing significant damage to several merchant ships.

In November, Houthi forces boarded and hijacked the merchant vessel Galaxy Leader while it was underway in the Red Sea.