UK and US sanction Houthis in a bid to stop Red Sea ship attacks

UK and US are hitting the Houthis with economic sanctions in a bid to stop Red Sea ship attacks, as ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports

The UK and US have imposed sanctions on the Houthis after multiple attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Four key Houthi figures involved in the attacks will be subject to UK asset freezes, arms embargoes and travel bans. 

This is the first sanctions action against the Houthis co-ordinated between the UK and US since the attacks in the Red Sea began in November. 

Pre-existing sanctions against 11 Houthis and two entities remain in force.

This includes their Security Chief Sultan Zabin, who was sanctioned by the UN in February 2021, for heading a campaign of systematic arrest, detention, torture, sexual violence and rape against politically active women in Yemen, the British Foreign Office said.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said: “These sanctions reinforce our clear message to the Houthis in recent weeks.  

"We can degrade their ability to attack international shipping. We are determined to protect freedom of navigation. We will back our words with actions.

"With our allies, we will continue to target those responsible for the Houthis’ unacceptable and illegal actions, which risk innocent seafarers’ lives and disrupt aid deliveries to the Yemeni people.”

In recent weeks, the US and UK have launched missiles at Houthi targets in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa in a joint mission.

ITV News is the only British broadcaster on the ground in the country as the tensions continue to increase.

ITV News is the first British broadcaster to report from within Yemen since the joint US-UK airstrikes began against Houthi targets, ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports from Aden

The prime minister said a joint bombing campaign with the US was intended to warn Houthis that attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea - as it has done 12 times in 10 days - is "unacceptable".

Locals in the south of the country told ITV News' Security Editor Rohit Kachroo the Houthi strikes are a threat to their safety.

The Houthis have become embroiled in the conflict after it launched dozens of attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. They have been accused of fighting for Iran by proxy.

"Our priority is to support Gaza and our country," one young man told ITV News.

"We support Gaza but the Houthis are backed by the Iranians. This regime is Iranian not Yemeni."

"This regime is Iranian, not Yemeni," a young man in Gaza told ITV News. Credit: ITV News

The Houthis attacks on vessels in the Red Sea have caused widespread disruption to global trade.

Vessels carrying goods, which are to be sold on UK high streets, are being rerouted around the southern peninsula of Africa to escape missile bombardment.

The diversion is adding thousands of miles to journeys, which is driving up costs for companies and causing delays in the supply chain.

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