WASHINGTON — The U.S. and U.K. on Thursday imposed sanctions on four leaders of Yemen's Houthi rebel group who have supported the militant group's recent attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
Houthi leaders Mohamed al-Atifi, Muhammad Fadl Abd al-Nabi, Muhammad Ali al-Qadiri and Muhammad Ahmad al-Talibi are all accused of assisting or sponsoring acts of terrorism, according to U.S. Treasury.
The Houthis have repeatedly launched attacks on ships in the Red Sea since November over Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, though they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade.
The sanctions block access to U.S. property and bank accounts and prevent the targeted people and companies from doing business with Americans.
Members of a former rebel group originally from the remote mountains of northwest Yemen, Houthi leaders are generally seen as having few assets within reach of U.S. authorities to be affected by the sanctions. But Middle East analysts say the sanctions may have impact simply by reminding movement leaders that the U.S. knows who they are, and may be tracking them.
Abdel Malek al-Houthi, a Yemeni politician who serves as the leader of the Houthi movement, said Thursday in a speech: “Since the beginning of the offense, with aid raids on our country, and missiles strikes from the sea, the Americans were not able to stop our…