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US considers designating Yemen’s Houthi militias as terrorist group

Published: Updated:

In an effort to place pressure on Yemen’s Houthi militias, which are aligned with Iran, the US is considering designating them as a terrorist organization, sources close to the matter told The Washington Post.

The sources spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity, and added that lesser punishments were discussed with regard to the Houthis at the White House, but no decision has been made yet.

The newspaper reported that many individuals stated that the issue was discussed several times since 2016, but was revisited in recent months at the White House as tougher sanctions on Iran take place, and as the US prioritizes a tougher stance on Tehran and militias linked to it in the region.

Amnesty International had accused Yemen’s Houthis on Thursday of “deliberate militarization of hospitals” in the battleground city of Hodeidah and called for the protection of civilians.

The human rights group said the Houthi militias recently stationed militiamen on the roof of a hospital in the May 22 district of the Red Sea port city, calling the action a “stomach-churning development”.

The internationally recognized Yemeni government had repeatedly reported human rights violations committed by the Houthis in Yemen, including the intentional blocking of aid and supplies, and firing Iranian-made ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia.

A terrorist designation by the State Department would freeze the financial assets of the militias, and result in travel prohibitions and other penalties against anyone supporting them.