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US sanctions senior Iran-backed Houthi militia officer Saleh Mesfer Alshaer

“This campaign of extortion, which was used to fund the Houthi [militia] effort, is yet another example of Houthi actions fueling instability and increasing the already extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people,” a statement from the Treasury Department read.

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The Biden administration has designated a senior Houthi militia officer for overseeing the illegal seizure of property worth more than $100 million, the Treasury Department announced on Thursday.

Saleh Mesfer Alshaer, commander of the Houthi-controlled logistics support organization, was sanctioned for what the US said was using “a variety of unlawful tactics, including extortion.”

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“This campaign of extortion, which was used to fund the Houthi [militia] effort, is yet another example of Houthi actions fueling instability and increasing the already extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people,” a statement from the Treasury Department read.

Last week, the UN also sanctioned Alshaer along with two other Houthi officials.

“Saleh Mesfer Alshaer is the principal Houthi [militia] officer responsible for pilfering assets from Yemeni citizens and directing a campaign of seizures that further prolongs the ongoing conflict in Yemen by obstructing its resolution,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Andrea Gacki.

Alshaer is a close ally of Houthi leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi. Treasury said that he has unlawfully forced banks, companies, and money exchange businesses to withdraw and identify customer assets.

“Those who have defied Alshaer have been detained and held indefinitely by the Houthi-controlled ‘National Security Bureau’ and have been falsely labeled as spies,” according to the statement.

On Thursday, the US said Alshaer diverted and confiscated funds from 35 MPs in Yemen as well as stolen funds from hospitals and organizations inside Yemen.

“This pattern of coercion and extortion is intended to benefit only one group — the Houthis — and it demonstrates that they are engaged in the same types of activities they blame on their opponents,” Treasury said.

Read more: Biden nominates new US ambassador to Yemen