US reviewing possible ‘terrorist’ designations for Houthis

The United States is reviewing “potential terrorist designations” for Yemen’s Houthi rebel group in response to its seizure of a cargo ship, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday.

Kirby’s comment was significant because one of the Biden administration’s first acts after taking office in January 2021 was revoking terrorist designations of the Houthis over fears the sanctions they carried could worsen Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

The Iran-backed Houthis, who have been sending drones and long-range missiles at Israel in solidarity with Hamas, seized the Galaxy Leader cargo ship on Sunday in the southern Red Sea, describing it as Israeli-owned.

Kirby called the Houthis’ seizure of the vessel a “flagrant violation of international law” in which “Iran is complicit.”

“In light of this, we have begun a review of potential terrorist designations and we will be considering other options as well with our allies and partners as well,” Kirby said at a White House press briefing. He called for the immediate release of the ship and its international crew.

Read more: Reuters