WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday put Yemen's Houthis rebels back on its list of specially designated global terrorists, piling financial sanctions on top of American military strikes in the Biden administration's latest attempt to stop the militants' attacks on global shipping.
Officials said they would design the financial penalties to minimize harm to Yemen's 32 million people, who are among the world's poorest and hungriest after years of war between the Iran-backed Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition.
But aid officials expressed concern. The decision would only add “another level of uncertainty and threat for Yemenis still caught in one of the world's largest humanitarian crises,” Oxfam America associate director Scott Paul said.
The sanctions that come with the formal designation are meant to sever violent extremist groups from their sources of financing.
President Donald Trump's administration designated the Houthis as global terrorists and a foreign terrorist organization in one of his last acts in office. President Joe Biden reversed course early on, at the time citing the humanitarian threat that the sanctions posed to ordinary Yemenis.
Military strikes by the U.S. and Britain against Houthi targets in Yemen have failed to stop weeks of drone, rocket and missile strikes by Houthi forces on commercial shipping transiting the Red Sea route, which borders Yemen.
The Houthis are one in a network of…