Houthi leaders will remain under U.S. sanctions

The United States government is moving forward with its plan to revoke terrorists designation of Yemen's Houthi movement, reversing a policy imposed in the final days of the Trump administration, but it will not be lifting sanctions on some members of its leadership.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement on Friday, saying that three Houthi leaders will remain subject to U.S. sanctions when the terror designation is lifted on the 16th.

He also said Washington would continue to closely monitor the group, and may impose additional sanctions on other individuals.

Specifically, according to Blinken, the U.S. will be targeting any members responsible for the ongoing attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia.

His statement came within moments of a Houthi spokesman announcing that the group had hit a Saudi Arabian airport and military base with drone strikes.

Yemen's civil war is widely seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Biden administration, other governments and the United Nations shared fears that the sanctions imposed on the Houthis under the U.S. terrorism designations could strangle food deliveries just as the threat of major famine is rising.

The United Nations describes Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need.

The decision by the Biden White House to reverse Trump's policy is part of a wider push by the president to bring it to a diplomatic end.

Earlier this month the U.S. said it would halt some arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but would continue to support the country's defense.

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