US designates Houthis as terrorists after tanker attacks

The designation is under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity, pursuant to Executive Order 13224.

These designations will provide additional tools to confront terrorist activity and terrorism by Ansarallah, a deadly Iran-backed militia group in the Gulf region,

…said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

Recognizing potential humanitarian consequences of these designations in Yemen, Mr. Pompeo clarified, the US is planning to put in place measures to reduce their impact on certain humanitarian activity and imports into Yemen, in cooperation with the UN.

As part of this effort, on January 19, the US Department of the Treasury will provide licenses pursuant to its authorities and corresponding guidance that relate to the official activities of the US government in Yemen, including assistance programming that continues to be the largest of any donor and the official activities of certain international organizations such as the United Nations.

The licenses and guidance will also apply to certain humanitarian activities conducted by non-governmental organizations in Yemen and to certain transactions and activities related to exports to Yemen of critical commodities like food and medicine.

These follow an explosion on a fuel tanker near the Saudi port of Jeddah last month. Singapore-based shipping company Hafnia, part of BW Group, confirmed that one of its LR1 product tankers was hit from an external source whilst discharging at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at approximately 00:40 on 14 December, causing an explosion and subsequent fire onboard.

Three weeks earlier, another vessel was damaged, possibly by a mine, at the Saudi terminal of Shuqaiq.

The tensions have also affected US allies, with Iran seizing the South Korean-flagged oil tanker Hankuk Chemi, last week.

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