WASHINGTON — Responding to increased attacks on ships in the southern Red Sea by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the U.S. announced sanctions against 13 people and firms alleged to be providing tens of millions of dollars from the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities to the Houthis in Yemen.
The White House also announced Thursday that it was encouraging allies to join the Combined Maritime Forces, a 39-member partnership that exists to counter malign action by non-state actors in international waters, as it looks to push back against the Houthis. The State Department and Pentagon are leading the effort to expand the maritime partnership after three commercial vessels were struck by missiles fired by Iranian-back Houthis in Yemen earlier this week.
The strike marked an escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war, as multiple vessels have found themselves in the crosshairs of a single Houthi assault for the first time in the conflict. The U.S. vowed to “consider all appropriate responses” in the wake of the attack, specifically calling out Iran, which is the chief sponsor of both Hamas militants in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen.
In the new sanctions announced Thursday, Treasury said that previously sanctioned Houthi and Iranian financial facilitator Sa'id al-Jamal uses a network of exchange houses and firms to help Iranian money reach the country's militant partners in…